Sunday, April 24, 2011

CWG scam: Kalmadi to be questioned by CBI today

New Delhi:  The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will today question former head of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Suresh Kalmadi, for the fourth time in connection with irregularities in the contract for the Queen's Baton Relay.

On April 20, Kalmadi had skipped an interrogation session with the CBI citing medical reasons and appointments related to his constituency in Maharashtra.

Investigators say the CBI may have finally gathered enough evidence to prove that Mr Kalmadi manipulated the rules when he was Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games to give a sweetheart deal to London based AM films.

AM Films was hired in September 2009 to provide services like taxis and public-display television screens for the Queen's Baton Relay which kickstarted the Commonwealth Games.

The rates agreed upon were exorbitant. Mr Kalmadi said in an interview to NDTV last year that because the services that AM Films provided were commissioned at a very late stage, there was no time to sign a contract with the company. AM films is owned by Ashish Patel, a businessman with a dubious financial track record.

Sources say Mr Patel has been asked to turn approver in the case by the CBI.

Different members of the Organising Committee who were believed to be close to Mr Kalmadi had earlier told investigators that other companies had bid for the Queen's Baton Relay but were rejected because their prices were not as competitive as those of AM Films. The bids attributed to three London-based companies - have turned out to be forged. The three firms, all based in London - SD Displace, 3 Dots Vision and Movie Tech - have now given statements saying that they never bid for the function and were not contacted at any point by the Organising Committee.

In recent weeks, some of Mr Kalmadi's closest aides have been arrested for their role in the seemingly-ubiquitous corruption of the Commonwealth Games that were held in India last year.


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