Thursday, July 29, 2010

Games Budget on Sky High: CVC eye on 14 Games Projects

With allegations of corruption in several Commonwealth Games projects flying fast and furious, anti-corruption agencies of the government Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are keeping a hawk’s eye on the execution of schemes whose expenditure has far exceeded estimates.

While CVC has confirmed that it is probing the projects, sources in CBI and Comptroller and Auditor General spoke of their growing interest in the Commonwealth Games expenditure because of mounting complaints.

Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha told Wednesday that CVC was examining the bidding documents of several projects being executed by the Games Organizing Committee, Delhi government as well as Sports Authority of India. Sources put the number of projects under the scanner at 14, saying with complaints pouring in, the number was likely to go up.

Like CVC, CBI has received complaints from diverse sources, including concerned groups and “wronged” parties, about irregularities in awarding contracts running into thousands of crore. The lead-up to the Games has been marred by allegations of corruption and favoritism in the execution of projects many of which were awarded bypassing bidding norms on the ground that there was no time.

The likelihood of a probe into alleged corruption came amid indications of growing fear in Congress that the Games might turn out to be an embarrassment for the government. The apprehension was echoed by Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari at the regular press briefing. Replying to a volley of queries based on reports of irregularities and shoddy work, Tiwari said that the questions being raised were relevant.

Tiwari, however, distanced the Congress from Mani Shankar Aiyar’s scathing comments calling money spent on the Games as a complete “waste”.

Tiwari stressed that Aiyar was a nominated member of Parliament and the successful organization of Games was a matter of national interest.