What happened when Congress organised the Commonwealth Games

What happened when Congress organised the Commonwealth Games

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After Neeraj Chopra scripted history by winning the Gold Medal at the Javelin Throw event at the Tokyo Olympics, former Union Minister P Chidambaram decided it was a good time to peddle his political agenda. P Chidambaram decided to advise the NDA Government on what it should to help athletes win medals at the next Olympics.

The comments appeared pretty ironic given the fact that India has just registered its highest tally at a single Olympics ever, winning 7 medals. But nonetheless, there is always the one Congress leader who always attempts to give the impression that things would have been better if the Congress government were in power.

On such occasions, it is good to remind Congress leaders the manner in which they extravagantly bungled up the Commonwealth Games in 2010, which were held in Delhi, India. In the aftermath of the Games, a massive scam was unearthed by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Games found itself in the midst of a massive controversy.

There were massive allegations of corruption and subsequently, a committee had to be appointed by the Union Government to investigate the matter. The Central Vigilance Committee (CVC), IT Department, CBI, and the Enforcement Directorate were also instructed to conduct an independent investigation.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India had found that the estimated expenditure of Rs. 296 crore at the Commonwealth Games, the actual costs eventually turned out to be over 100 times the figure at Rs. 28,054 crores. There was shoddy work at the stadium and even the costs of toilet paper was highly inflated.

The CAG also discovered that a fleet of 2500 buses were procured at inflated costs. One pigeon-hole cupboard that was flagged at Rs. 5,200 at the customs was rated at Rs. 14,440. And there were several other items that were flagged at much higher costs than what was usual.

The fall of Suresh Kalmadi

Suresh Kalmadi, then the head of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), had to spend months in jail due to his role in the Timing-Scoring-Result (TSR) case. A chargesheet was filed against him and 8 others including Verma and Organising Committee Secretary General Lalit Bhanot for criminal conspiracy and forging documents in May, 2011.

Charges were registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Indian Penal Code Sections 120B, Sections 420, 467, 468, and 471. He managed to secure bail after spending 10 months in jail.

In 2020, 50 cases related to payment disputes involving the Commonwealth Games were still pending. The RTI said that the 50 cases involved 33 vendors, authorities and individuals. Some of the firms include Swiss Timing (contracts worth ₹135.27 crore), Nussli India (₹140 crores) and Electronics Corporation of India (₹346 crores). It must be mentioned the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India had reported that the budget of the CWG had increased from ₹297 crores in 2003 to ₹18,532.31 crore in October 2010.

The Commonwealth Games were conducted in Delhi under the auspices of the UPA Government at the time. Ultimately, combined with a host of other instances of corruption, the UPA had to pay the price for it with a complete rout in the 2014 General Elections.

Thus, given the Congress party’s own history with conducting international sporting events, one would have believed that they would refrain from issuing boisterous advisories on how to augment the performance of athletes in future events. But clearly, P Chidambaram did not get the memo.

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