This Article is From Aug 03, 2011

Commonwealth Games fiasco: Government's auditor faults Sheila too

New Delhi: Delhi's chief secretary PK Tripathi today clarified that the Chief Minister played no part in Space Age being awarded a contract for street lighting in Delhi during the Commonwealth Games.

Sheila Dikshit has been blamed for costing the government Rs 31 crore in losses by deciding to use imported equipment for street lighting in the city during the games. 

The government's auditor finds  that after the Chief Minister's sanction, lights were bought at a price that ranged from Rs 25,000 to 32,000 each - "far higher than the fair price computed."

The Games were held in Delhi in September 2010. 

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)  also cites the example of a company  named Space Age, which imported low-cost bulbs from Saudi Arabia.  Space Age allegedly paid  Rs 5,000 per light but charged the government Rs 25,000 per light - earning a super profit of more than Rs 2.5 crore.  The auditor also states that Space Age had been disqualified as a supplier, but was cleared by the Chief Minister. 

Ms Dikshit's has said she will comment on the allegations only after the CAG report is tabled in Parliament. Chief Secretary said today that Space Age went to court against its disqualification, and were included after they won their case in the Delhi High Court. At no point did Ms Dikshit  give any directions for the inclusion of Space Age. Mr Tripathi added that prima facie it seems like a case for the customs department to investigate.

Earlier, the Shunglu Committee - appointed by the Prime Minister to study the massive financial problems that underpinned the Games - had said that Ms Dikshit was partly responsible for  the delays that dogged her government's handling of infra-structure projects.  The  delays then resulted in companies being hired at huge costs to complete the projects in a rush.  The Shunglu Committee had also referred to the alleged intervention by the Chief Minister to allow Space Age to supply street lights. 


EMAAR, favoured to build athletes' village, delivered unsafe flats

The CAG report finds that the company hired to construct the Village  - EMAAR MGF - was unduly favoured  .  The auditor suggests that 278 crores be recovered from EMAAR for using substandard material and  violating the terms of its contract.  The auditor also believes that several parts of the Village  - including the hundreds of apartments that housed athletes and were later sold- are structurally unsound.

The report also states that Delhi's Development Authority (DDA)  wrongly "eliminated"  DLF, the real estate giant, who bid for the construction of the Athletes Village.  The auditor finds that EMAAR did not meet any of the three conditions needed at the "request for qualification" stage.

The DDA does not function as part of the Delhi government; it reports to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Tejinder Khanna.