New Delhi: The closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games ended with rainbow-colored splatter that lit up the night sky. The fireworks may, in fact, just be beginning.
A panel has been set up by the government to looking into the "organizing and conduct of the Games," says the Prime Minister's Office. Headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General, VK Shungloo, the panel will submit its report within three months to the Prime Minister. It has the mandate to review every transaction, if needed.
The Organizing Committee for the Games was headed by Suresh Kalmadi, who was snubbed by the Prime minister earlier today and not invited to attend a reception for the Indian athletes and medal-winners at the Commonwealth Games.(Read: Kalmadi not invited by PM)
In addition to Shungloo's panel, government sources confirm that an official and massive investigation is about to begin to uncover alleged corruption among the organisers of the Games.
The Government has drawn up a list of 23 officials whose role in "organising and conducting" the games will be probed.
They include the Suresh Kalmadi, Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna as the head of the DDA, responsible for the athlete's village, former Urban Development secretary and the finance committee of the OC, headed by GC Chaturvedi, an Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Finance.
Sources have also told NDTV that the government is unhappy over the role of the sports ministry. Rahul Bhatnagar, the Joint Secretary, incharge of the international Sports division.
There will be two aspects of the probe - the financial misappropriation, mainly by the Games Organising Committee and the administrative lapses by the other ministries.
The CAG will look into the financial misppropriation, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will look into routing of funds and the CBI will examine the tenders. The CAG visited two sports complexes on Friday.
Members of the Organising Committee, sources say, may find themselves detained soon for questioning. There seems to be evidence that proves money connected to the Games was deposited in tax havens like Mauritius.
According to the interim report, international broadcast rights and sponsorship deals had been awarded by the Organising Committee in violation of basic procedure to consultants and companies that did not offer the best terms. That caused a loss of at least Rs 20 crore.
Officials who have been uncovering evidence to support the financial track record of the organisers have reportedly, so far, not asked the Organising Committee for copies of contracts and documents because they were concerned that files would suddenly go missing.
PTI adds that the CAG has also resumed its own investigation today. Inspection officials are auditing accounts for, among other aspect, the contracts that saw equipment being leased by the Organising Committee for use by athletes during the Games. The CAG had begun assessing the Games' expenditure in August, but had to stop the audit related works in the last week of September as they could not access the premises of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).
The official said the CAG had to suspend their audit for over a fortnight since most of the CPWD offices are located at venues that were being used for the Games.
According to PTI, the biggest venue - Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium - has yet to be inspected by the CAG.
The CAG is likely to submit its final report to the government by the end of January. The CAG audit will examine the cost of the Games and whether it justifies the quality of the material used in venues and equipment.
External Affairs Minister SM Krishna today said, "Success of Games is one side of the story but natural corollary will be followed. Government has already said this and Government will follow it up."
The issue is certain to become a political one. "Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh had said that probe will happen after the Games are over. We are giving them a couple of days to see what action they take. If not, BJP has also made plans," said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.