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As Questions Pile Up, Kalmadi Goes Missing

New Delhi: As the furore over the condition of the Commonwealth Games Village escalated, there has been a notable silence from the man associated the most with the Delhi Games 2010 — Suresh Kalmadi. So,
PTI September 23, 2010 10:41 IST
PTI
New Delhi: As the furore over the condition of the Commonwealth Games Village escalated, there has been a notable silence from the man associated the most with the Delhi Games 2010 — Suresh Kalmadi. So, while top bureaucrats from the central as well as Delhi government made a beeline for the Village on Tuesday, the two top officials from the organising committee (OC), Kalmadi and the CEO, Jarnail Singh, were both missing in action, reports Times of India.  

Neither made an appearance in the Village through the day, said sources, though officials like the cabinet secretary, K M Chandrashekhar, principal secretary to the PM, T K A Nair, secretary sports, Sindhushree Khullar, the LG, Tejendra Khanna as well as the Delhi government chief secretary rushed to the Village, especially after the cabinet secretary received the letter from Michael Fennell, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, detailing the complaints by the visiting foreign delegates from participating nations.  

Said a senior official, ''In fact, the meeting with the cabinet secretary started early in the morning once the letter was received, with almost every senior official being present.'' However, sources admitted that neither Kalmadi nor the CEO, Singh, were present at the emergency session.  

The otherwise media-friendly Kalmadi was conspicuous by his absence, not speaking to anyone from outside the OC as the controversy raged. Kalmadi's close aide, and spokesperson for the OC, Lalit Bhanot, took over the job to defend the OC and answer questions over the delegates scathing comments about the ''filthy'' conditions in the residential zone at the end of the day.  

The uncharacteristic silence continued on Wednesday, with the OC head still refusing to issue a statement on the Village controversy and its fallout, which saw several athletes dropping out of the CWG 2010. Kalmadi, who till date had been vocal about the Games Village being the ''best ever'', preferred to play it low as OC tried to play down the controversy.  

It was left to the cabinet secretary, Chandrashekhar, to issue a statement, saying that a number of steps had been taken to improve the condition and that authorities are ''on top of the situation''. Said the official, ''I think they (the OC) are working in full steam and we are in constant touch with them. I think they will be on top of the situation.''