CWG Scam: Manmohan Singh PMO recommended Kalmadi's appointment, says PAC
Criticizing the Manmohan Singh PMO, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has adopted the politically controversial 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) report. The report said the then PMO "passed the buck" by appointing Suresh Kalmadi as the CWG Organizing Committee Chairman. PAC dismissed the PMO's response that non-circulation of minutes of the PM Manmohan Singh-led meeting in January 2005 was best explained by the Sports Ministry.
Commonwealth Games is an international multi-sport event that involves athletes from 52 member nations of the Commonwealth of Nations. The event, organized by Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), has taken place every four years since 1930 (except in 1942 and 1946).
2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games Scam
In 2010, India witnessed the Commonwealth Games (CWG) scam, involving a "pilferage" of Rs. 70,000cr. Central Vigilance Commission reports showed CWG Organizing Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi offered Rs. 141cr contract to Swiss Timings for timing equipment, which was high by Rs. 95cr. Kalmadi and other accused were charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery under the sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Public Accounts Committee's report
"When it comes to directions of the PM (Manmohan Singh) pertaining to projects of utmost national importance, PMO instead of shifting responsibilities, should have ensured effective follow-up. PMO's submission that reasons can be best explained by the sports ministry is evasive at best."
CBI filed 33 cases against Kalmadi and his aides
Reflecting an all-party consensus, the report noted the Cabinet Secretariat's failure in ensuring accountability and its "bending to political pressure". Under BJP leader Murali Manohar Joshi, the PAC is examining the Comptroller and Auditor General report that highlighted irregularities in conducting CWG games. CBI filed 33 cases against Kalmadi and his aides. A committee chaired by Congress's KV Thomas recently adopted the current report.
The PAC report, a strong indictment of UPA-2
Political implications of the committee's report, a strong indictment of UPA-2, were reportedly held up since PM Narendra Modi assumed office; but PAC cleared the 357-page report, which criticized the Manmohan Singh PMO. PAC said, "The MYAS (Sports Ministry) received the minutes back from the cabinet secretariat after the decision to appoint President of IOA (Kalmadi) had been implemented and that too undated."
Kalmadi's appointment, a costly mistake: PAC
Calling for additional scrutiny and oversight, PAC condemned the manner in which highest government institutions were allowed to be manipulated by 'extraneous influences'. It criticized the "imprudent decision" to appoint Suresh Kalmadi as the CWG Organizing Committee (OC) Chairman despite the then Sports Minister, late Sunil Dutt's serious objections. It said Kalmadi's appointment turned the CWG OC into a body "outside government control."
Committee seeks faster investigation
PAC examined CBI's investigation and asked for an update on court developments concerning the closed cases. Directing the investigating agency to reopen the investigation in six cases that were declared closed, the committee sought faster investigation into a case involving senior CWG Organizing Committee members.