The government may find it difficult to persist with its claims that it had no role in the appointment of Suresh Kalmadi as Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, as veracity of the ‘updated bid document,’ which facilitated his installation, was questioned by then Sports Minister Sunil Dutt.
The updated bid document surfaced mysteriously in the files of the Sports Ministry in September 2004, but bore a December 2003 dateline. Kalmadi cited it to stake claim for the OC chief’s job.
Dutt, in a letter written on November 11, 2004, to Arjun Singh, who headed the group of ministers set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for overseeing conduct of the Games, said the revised document had “no significance” as it was drafted after the allotment of the event to Delhi.
Picking holes in the document, Dutt said that it was prepared suo-motu by Kalmadi and his associates without consulting or seeking approval of the Sports Ministry. He also used the opportunity to draw Arjun Singh’s attention to the fact that the Sports Minister was chairman of the Afro-Asian Games held in Hyderabad in 2003.
The original bid document, submitted to the Commonwealth Games Federation in May 2003, had described the OC as “a non-profit, government owned registered society”. It had specifically mentioned that “the executive board of the OC will be headed by a chairman, who will be a government nominee.”
However this was reworded as, “the Executive Board of the OC will be headed by a Chairman, followed by the Vice-Chairman/ Working Chairman.” Dutt referred to the alteration and said significant changes with major structural and financial implications were made in the bid document without consultation/approval of the ministry.
He followed it up by writing a letter to the prime minister, expressing surprise at the resolution passed by the IOA, appointing its president as the Chairman of the OC. He said this was at variance with decisions taken in the meeting of the group of ministers held on October 25, 2004.
Dutt also observed that the minutes of the GoM, as issued by the Cabinet Secretariat and received in his ministry on November 10, 2004, did not reflect decisions taken in the meeting convened to discuss the OC’s composition.
Dutt’s reservations went unheeded. A communication issued by the PMO on December 6, 2004 sealing the matter in favour of Kalmadi.
“An OC and executive board responsible for conduct of the Games and formulation of sub-committees will be chaired by Shri Suresh Kalmadi, president of the IOA.
The OC will deal with the Government of India through the MYAS and with the Delhi Administration,” it said. Economic Times