New Delhi: The controversy surrounding the Commonwealth Games seems to be unending. After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi have snubbed CWG Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi, it is the turn of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to point fingers at Kalmadi.
Sheila Dikshit on Saturday said the "suspicion" of corruption in the Commonwealth Games is on the Organising Committee headed by Suresh Kalmadi and welcomed the "instantaneous" probe ordered by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which would clear the "cobwebs".
Suresh Kalmadi on his part welcomed the probe and said that he and his team had delivered a the Games successfully.
Significantly, Kalmadi hinted that the Shunglu committee in his probe must cover all aspects, implying that it is not just Organising Committee (OC) but others too who must be under the scanner.
Government sources have pointed out that everyone will have to answer questions and offer explanation while the probe is on. Shunglu committee will concentrate on the alleged irregularities of the OC, while agencies will look into it and even audit revenue and expenditure of the DDA, NDMC, MCD, urban development ministry and the Delhi government. This audit will be on the basis of further investigation.
Home Minister P Chidambaram said, “That the government will have to fast track the probe and audit is pushed by the fact that the BJP is insisting on a complete probe. While Kalmadi is the focus, others should also be investigated.”
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "All aspects in total must be thoroughly investigated."
True to Congress culture, the distancing of Suresh Kalmadi has already begun within his party but the OC chairman can take consolation from the fact that he may not be the only one who may end up being punished.
Dikshit said the corruption could have taken place in the activities undertaken by the Organising Committee to which the Central government had given loans to the tune of Rs. 1,600 crore.
She was of the view that Kalmadi, who is the target of attack over the mess that was witnessed in run up to the Games, had failed to "win confidence" of people.
"We feel relieved and happy (at the successful Games). But what is disturbing is the corruption charges. They are very disturbing," Dikshit said in an interaction with journalists.
"The fact that the Prime Minister has taken almost an instantaneous decision to order probe into the whole thing and have the picture ready by January, that I think is very heartening," she said.
The Prime Minister set up a high-level committee headed by former CAG V K Shunglu to probe the organising of the CWG, a day after the mega-sporting event got over.
Dikshit, who answered a range of questions on CWG preparations and the controversies surrounding it, underlined that the allegations of corruption are "not going to be pushed under the carpet".
She said the "real corruption seems to be with regard to the money given as loans (to the OC)".
Noting that infrastructure development was the government's job, the Chief Minister said the Centre had given "a number of loans (to OC) and that is where the real corruption is. There may have also been (corruption) in some government departments. I am not ruling that out."
Referring to probe ordered by the Prime Minister, she said, "I think only this committee which has been set up will be able to clear the cobwebs. At the moment the suspicion is very much on the OC."
When pointed out that Kalmadi was jeered at the opening and closing ceremonies of the CWG, Dikshit said, "I think unfortunately, Suresh was not able to win confidence...they cheered to me because I am the face they see."
Asked whether Delhi government will conduct a probe into corruption charges involving CWG-related projects undertaken by it, she said there are no such plans so far but it may be done if the Comptroller and Auditor General asks.
She, however, said the Delhi government would not be able to investigate itself as "there will not be credibility (of the government probing itself)".
On the allegations of "filthy and unlivable" living conditions at the Games Village ahead of the event, she said the builder Emmar-MGF, DDA and Organising Committee have to "share" responsibility for it.
"Emmar-MGF built the Village and handed it over to the DDA which in turn handed it over to the Organising Committee... These are the three agencies who were responsible for it," she noted.
After the unlivable conditions at the Village came to light, the Delhi government was given the charge, about a week ahead of the Games, of cleaning it up and getting it ready in time.
Dikshit questioned the rationale of taking over the Village from the builder by DDA "when one has found most of its basements were flooded with water".
She asked, "How do you take over from a builder when the railings of the balcony are not there? How do you take over from the builder when the lifts are not functioning? Why did DDA do that and then if DDA had done it, why did the OC take it over in the condition it was?"
The chief minister refused to comment when asked about Lt Governor Tejender Khanna writing to the prime minister to protest against Dikshit taking credit for getting the Games Village ready.
"I will rather not comment on this because you know it is something he (LG) did. I really have no comments to offer and everybody has the right to write to the prime minister, President or any one," she said.
Asked whether Delhi is ready to host Olympics, she said, "We have the confidence today. We can bid... Whether we can get it or not is a different matter. I think the world also has the confidence that we can do it despite the fact that we got very very poor publicity."