BJP demands graft probe, says PMO snctioned Games projects

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Commonwealth Games corruption allegations to fix political accountability, and said that sanctions for the projects had come through the Prime Minister’s Office and the cabinet.

“There was huge escalation in costs… A racket was there for many years. Money was sanctioned without proper evaluation… Some officials may be named but basically the responsibility is of the highest authority,” BJP president Nitin Gadkari told reporters here.

He also said that the CWG budget which stood at Rs.1,899 crore in 2003 went up to Rs.70,000 crore in 2010 and approvals were given by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the cabinet.

He said only Rs.350 crore was spent on Indian athletes.

“There was corruption… Money passed in benami (illegal) transactions through Swiss bank accounts and Mauritius route,” Gadkari alleged.

He said that revisions in the budget were approved by the PMO.

“Files for more money were approved by the PMO… Why advance (money) given was not checked by PM? What type of tender process they had? The CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) pointed out that things were not going properly,” Gadkari said, adding that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had also pointed out that the budget went through several revisions.

Gadkari, who released the BJP’s report ‘FIR (First Information Report) on CWG loot’, said that the cabinet in 2007 had approved the first budget of Rs.3,866 crore for the Games.

“How it increased? Who is responsible?… The Congress government is responsible for corruption,” he said, adding that it was “shameful loot of people’s money”.

Gadkari posed 15 questions to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Games and also asked him if the entire cabinet was not responsible for the “CWG chaos and corruption”.

The BJP chief described the probe ordered by the government as “an eyewash”. “CWG investigations must cover all central and state government agencies. The files, paper notings should be seized,” he said.

He said all the ministers, officers and Organising Committee (OC)members connected with the games should be relieved from the CWG work immediately and asked to stay away from CWG files.

The BJP chief said that probes by various agencies should be coordinated and given to a single agency.

Gadkari said probe should cover ministries of urban development, tourism, home, finance, sports, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi government and the Organising Committee.

He demanded that the CAG should complete investigations in a time-bound manner and give directives to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to initiate action.

He said the government should seize Swiss accounts of those involved in corruption, the Enforcement Directorate should act against Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violations and benami (proxy) transactions should be investigated.

“The CBI should complete probe in three months, register cases and seize property of corrupt officials, ministers and OC members,” he said.

The BJP leader claimed the party had collected documentary proof to back its allegations and had kept it to give to the JPC.

Filed under: Commonwealth Games

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