October 19, 2010
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today demanded the setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to inquire into the allegations of corruption in the organisation of the XIX Commonwealth Games, which were held in Delhi from October 3-14.
"The terms of reference of the proposed JPC, among other things, should include devising a foolproof mechanism to ensure complete transparency in hosting a corruption and scandal free international sporting event in future," BJP President Nitin Gadkari said at a press conference here.
Mr Gadkari said Indian sportspersons had made the country proud by winning as many as 101 medals at the Games. He also said that the opening and closing ceremonies were spectacular and praised the foolproof security arrangements.
"But all was not well with the Commonwealth Games-Delhi 2010. It all looked fine and on track till the bid was won. Then where did we fail and who all nearly let us down? The world community in general and the people of India in particular need to know," he said.
He said the "irregularities and bungling" in the tendering process of various Games-related proejcts were "scandalous involving several thousand crores".
He referred to the allegations about corruption in the organisation of the launch of the Queen's Baton Relay in London late last year "without proper tendering and paperwork".
He said corruption was suspected in the award of tenders for different projects, including stadia and other infrastructure, and grant of contracts for hire or purchase of items such as air-conditioners, treadmills and toilet paper.
Mr Gadkari said he Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India had commented adversely on the cost overruns for the stadium being built or refurbished for the Games.
He referred to the collapse of an under-construction footbridge near the main venue, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, after which the army pitched in by building a temporary structure.
Mr Gadkari said leaders of his party had raised these issues in both Houses of Parliament. He said the party had now prepared a "First Information Report on Commonwealth Games Loot", which alleges that the Government agencies and sports bodies had wasted taxpayers' money, which had resulted in huge cost overruns.
Referring to the inquiry ordered by the Prime Minister into the allegations as well as the probes being conducted by various official agencies, he said the BJP felt these must be expedited and taken to their logical end so that those guilty could be punished without any delay.
"In view of the multiplicity of the agencies involved in this task, we demand that a high-power coordination committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary should be set up to ensure an effective and concerted effort to unearth the scandals. All these investigations must reveal the extent and magnitude of the corruption in different deals and the role of the agencies involved therein for which those found guilty must be taken to task as per the law of the land," he said.
Mr Gadkari said the BJP would extend full cooperation to all the investigative agencies and make available to them the information gathered by its leaders.
"But at the same time, I strongly feel that there is an urgent need to pin point accountability on those who cleared these projects and sanctioned fund allocations from time to time overlooking the serious discrepancies in the project reports and the unreasonable exorbitant cost escalations. It is high time to expose the nexus between the partners in the Commonwealth Games loot and those providing them political patronage by condoning this mess," he said.
"People of India have a solemn constitutional right to know who the real culprits of this national shame are. The truth must prevail and shall prevail only if a comprehensive inquiry in the public domain is held and that is possible only through a Joint Parliamentary probe," he added.