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CWG scam: Kalmadi to be quizzed today

Posted by on April 25, 2011 0 Comment

Pune Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi is likely to be quizzed by the CBI here on Monday in connection with the irregularities detected by the probe agency in the awarding of the contract for the installation of timing, scoring, result (TSR) system at various venues during the Commonwealth Games held here last year.

Summons to the sacked CWG Organising Committee chairman were issued by the CBI on Thursday. The Congress MP, who is in Pune, was expected to reach the Capital on Sunday night to be able to present himself before agency’s headquarters on Monday.

The TSR scam, in which the CBI has already filed an FIR, has already claimed the scalps of former OC secretary general Lalit Bhanot and director general VK Verma for entering “into a criminal conspiracy with a Switzerland-based firm, Swiss Timing Ltd, and other unknown persons to cheat the government of India “. The duo is now behind bars.

The Expression of Interest (EoI) for the contract was issued by Bhanot on March 23, 2009. The CBI, in its FIR, found that qualifications were framed in such a manner that only one firm, Swiss Timing Ltd, could make it.

The OC issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) on October 1, 2009, inviting bids from reputed companies, having considerable experience, for providing TSR system through an open tender process. The bid was to be submitted in three parts, pre-qualifying, technical and commercial. “The RFP conditions were so framed as to further restrict competition in favour of Swiss Timing Ltd,” the CBI FIR filed in the case on November 29 last states.

The agency found that more changes were effected in the RFP on October 4, 2009, on the specific directives of Verma to prevent any firm other than the Swiss Timing Ltd from clearing the pre-qualification stage.

Two firms responded to the RFP – Swiss Timing Ltd and MSL, a company from Spain. MSL, it may be pointed out, had provided the TSR system for the entire 16th edition of the Asian Games, held late last year in the Chinese city of Guangzhou. It was, however, as the CBI pointed out, “wrongfully eliminated, thereby causing pecuniary benefit to the bidder left in the fray”.

Kalmadi, however, has rejected charges of any wrongdoing. He has maintained all along that all OC decisions had been vetted by various committees.

“I am surprised why officials of the OC are being called by the investigating agencies. No decision was taken by any individual. There was a financial committee, financial sub-committee and executive committee. Central government secretaries were also part of the decision-taking bodies,” he had told newspersons in Ranchi in February this year. “It was a collective decision of the committees and no individual took any decision, then why officials of OC are only being targeted,” he had wondered at the same time.

The CBI, however, is expected to confront Suresh Kalmadi with a set of documents suggesting that he may have been in know of things, and that he may have played a role in bestowing the contract on the Swiss firm. Economic Times

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