Kalmadi asks Dikshit to set ‘house in order’

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NEW DELHI - Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Tuesday slammed Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, asking her to set her house in order before pointing fingers at others.

I have never spoken because I was interested in having a successful Commonwealth Games. So, I kept quiet throughout. That should not be seen as a sign of weakness or that I am weak in any manner. But now that the Games are over, I shall speak out and I did reply to Mrs. Dikshit. I said set your own house in order before you show your finger at others, Kalmadi said in an interview to CNN-IBN television channel.

He pointed out that Dikshit had a much larger budget for the games and was in charge of all infrastructure projects.

“She had a budget of Rs.16,000 crore for construction-related work and I had nothing to do with it. My budget was Rs.1,600 crore. I was not part of the construction work. She has to answer a lot for that,” Kalmadi said.

“Everybody criticised me for the foot over-bridge collapse (near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium), but that was not my business. The Delhi government and the Public Works Department (PWD) have to answer for that,” he added. “When the prime minister has ordered a probe, she (Dikshit) doesn’t have to say anything.”

Kalmadi said that too much is being made out about his absence from the functions to felicitate Indian medal winners hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Too much is being made into all that. Let me tell, you I was busy with seeing off over 10,000 people who had come as our guests. I was in the hotel the whole day. The Chef de Mission did ring me up that we have to go to the Prime Minister’s place and Mrs (Sonia) Gandhi’s place and I said you do that, I am busy with all the athletes and all the people who have come from abroad, he asserted.

To a question asking if he was persona non grata, he said, not at all.

Kalmadi’s statements come on a day when Income Tax officials raided 30 locations in Delhi on charges of bungling in funds of the Commonwealth Games.

Kalmadi, however, said that it was good that the probe had started and the Organising Committee is ready to answer all questions.

“I have not taken any decision on my own. It’s good that a probe has been ordered because the prime minister had committed this to the parliament and the public. We will give all the answers,” he said.

Kalmadi said despite a negative press worldwide, India can still dream of hosting the Olympics.

“The whole world feels we should hold the Olympics. International Olympic Committee Chairman Jacques Rogge was impressed with the Commonwealth Games and wants India to host the Olympics. But we shall make an announcement only after the cloud over CWG is over.

“We will have to take the government into confidence. We are ready for it and definitely we will bid for the Olympics,” he said.

Kalmadi had Sunday too criticised Dikshit for casting aspersions on the Organising Committee, saying this was “disappointing” and “uncalled for”.

Dikshit had said that the needle of suspicion regarding alleged corruption in the Games pointed to the Organising Committee which had got a loan from the state government.

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