New Delhi: Ready, set, go. The teams involved with uncovering the corruption that seemed metabolic to the Commonwealth Games have hit the ground running.
Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials have reportedly registered a case of foreign exchange violations against members of the Organising Committee (OC), headed by Suresh Kalmadi. The CBI is checking out 20 cases of corruption. And income tax officials raided 30 locations in and around Delhi today that belong to four business consortiums, each involving a foreign entity. Together, the four groups won contracts worth more than 700 crores.
Among the places raided today, the home of senior BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal, whose nephew, Vinay Mittal, won major contracts for the Commonwealth Games through two companies he owns - Deepali Designs and IREO, a construction company.
Sudhanshu Mittal became a director of Deepali Designs in February this year. Soon after, the company won a massive contract to supply treadmills, chairs, umbrellas and other equipment referred to as "overlays." Weeks before the Games, NDTV and other media companies reported on what came to be known as the overlay scam - equipment was being supplied at several times its market price. (Read: Who is Sudhanshu Mittal)
BJP President Nitin Gadkari held a press conference this afternoon to allege that the government effectively sanctioned corruption during the Games. When asked about the raids against his own party's Mittal, he said, "Anybody within the party or not should be investigated if they are corrupt...all guilty, whoever it may be, should be investigated. We are not going to protect anyone. But nothing has come forward just yet."
Income Tax officials are trying to seize documents including invoices and contracts for companies that had foreign partners. They're also trying to uncover any proxy ownership of the companies that were hired for the Games.
The massive charges of corruption that prefaced the Games are being investigated through a series of parallel inquiries by different agencies. The Prime Minister's Office has made it clear that those responsible for financial violations will be identified and held accountable.
On Monday, Income Tax officials visited the offices of the Organising Committee, headed by Suresh Kalmadi. Sources say financial documents linked to the broadcast rights for the Games are being studied for alleged tax evasion. The terms of the same deal - won by a London-based company - are also being examined. Early investigations allegedly show that the tax statements of the Indian office of that company show discrepancies in crores.
The channels used to pay the company are also being studied, and members of the Organising Committee are likely to be summoned soon for questioning.
On Monday, the Comptroller and Auditor General, Vinod Rai, formally announced a massive audit of the expenditure on the Games. Vowing to complete the audit within three months, Rai said that in addition to accountability, the report will determine whether the equipment and materials used for the Games justified the expenditure.