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CWG scam: Parliamentary panel wants Cabinet Secretary, PMO to carry out field surveys

PTI 13 Oct 2015, 20:35:30 IST
PTI

New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel's sub group examining "irregularities" in Commonwealth Games 2010 today recommended calling Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha and PMO officials from Prime Minister's Office for field surveys of assets created during the event.

"Officials from six other ministeries---MHA, Finance, Sports, Urban Development, Health, Social Justice and Empowerment will be called besides the present Cabinet Secretary as well as officials from the present PMO," a sources said.

The issues were deliberated at the first meeting of a five-member sub-committee of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee. While the PAC is headed by Congress leader K V Thomas, Shantaram Naik, Congress MP from Rajya Sabha is the convenor of the sub-committee, which has to finalise report on irregularities in the 19th Commonwealth Games.

The irregularities that were mentioned in a CAG report tabled in Parliament in 2011, had kicked up a huge controversy and the CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, a Congress MP, was put behind bars during the UPA II government.

The panel's sub-Committee was constituted on September 4 with S S Ahluwalia, Nishikant Dubey and Vijay Goel (BJP) and Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) as members.

The PAC, which was earlier headed BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi had given a draft report.

The CAG had criticised the then Manmohan Singh government's decisions saying it led to huge escalation in cost and pointed out a hurried approach at the last minute, which led to many descrepancies.

The CAG report had also alleged that the main bid document of the Games were tampered with and had questioned the authenticity of the expenditure of the Games.

Read Also: CWG street lights scam: Four-year jail terms for four MCD officials

Indications are that the final report by the PAC will not be ready before March 31 and hence could be pressented only in the Budget session next year.

"The sub committee today felt that more sittings are required to finalize the fresh draft because in the last five years lots of changes have taken place. CBI has closed some of the cases out of 33 it scrutinized.

"There is also a need to update the status report of the government like how many assets were created and what is their status five years after the game. Field visits are also required to ascertain this," sources said.

They said it was felt that it will be not appropriate to call officials from the previous PMO.

When contacted, Naik refused to give a time frame by which the report will be ready but said, "this was the first meeting of the committee.

A number of meetings are going to happen in future as well." Naik said since much time has happened after the CWG game was over and many new developments have taken place since then, the sub committee will be examining several matters before giving their report like the status of infrastructure created during the CWG and the status of cases pending before various courts and the disciplinary action taken by departments.

"We will phsysically visit sites to examine the status of assets created during that time by various departments. An objective of the committee is also to find out how to go ahead on such matters.

"How to prevent such things (irregularities) in future. We will also try to understand how other countries handled such problems while organizing such big events," Naik told PTI.

Sources said that it was Mahtab, who felt that the committee should carry out field visits assess the status of infrastructure created during the CWG.

During the hour-long meeting, a BJP member insisted that Cabinet Secretary and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister should be called to clear what is the command system in the government on such matters, sources said.

There was also a mention of the letter written by former Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, who had criticised the huge spending on the Games.

The PAC has already called before it officials of CBI, who have investigated a number of cases of irregularities and a number of government officials from various departments, responsible for carrying out the Games related works.

The PAC's earlier draft report had taken into account submissions from key witnesses and had made some comments on the role of UPA regime and the organising committee headed by former Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi.