This Article is From Aug 02, 2010

Rs 4 lakhs for an AC, 9 lakhs for a treadmill: Kalmadi denies inflated pricing

New Delhi: Did the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee manipulate tenders and inflate prices of basic rentals and purchases?

NDTV has access to the tender for "overlay" costs that shows, the tender was awarded to a company that has charged the organisers, four lakh rupees for a single air conditioner and nine lakh rupees for every treadmill.

But the man at the centre of the controversy, Suresh Kalmadi denies overpricing.(Watch: Suresh Kalmadi to NDTV on corruption charges)

The Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Kalmadi told NDTV that the money spent on overlays is lower than what the FIFA world cup spent on the same costs.

"The overlays are under reasonable limits. Off hand, I can tell you, the costs which you are referring to are of bedroom-size air conditioners. These are much bigger ACs. Also, the treadmills are all imported from Germany. They come with a technician and two months of service, so all those costs are included," says Kalmadi.

This fresh evidence of price overlays comes even as  an assessment report prepared by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) blames agencies under the Delhi government and the sports ministry for large-scale procedural violations, and corruption. (Read:Corruption scandal hits CWG, organisers deny charges)

According to the report, "Almost all the organisations executing works for Commonwealth Games have considered inadmissible factors to jack-up the reasonable price to justify award of work at quoted rates citing urgent or emergent circumstances. Despite higher rates, poor site management and delays and quality compromises have been observed."

CVC report has asked the CBI to register a corruption case againstcertain MCD officials in connection with irregularities in a tenderissued for a Commonwealth Games project worth several crores.

Kalmadi has said that the Delhi government and the sports ministry haveto answer for many of the allegations raised by the Central VigilanceCommission. "The report of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) oncorruption charges has nothing to do with the Organising Panel. TheSports Ministry and the Delhi government have to answer the report."

This would not have happened had the Delhi government got its way. It now emerges that in 2006 the state government had sought vigilance exemption for all Commonwealth projects. 

The then Chief Vigilance Commissioner, Sudhir Kumar says, " The representatives of the Delhi government and engineers from all agencies had met me around 2006. The (then) Chief Secretary of Delhi (R Narayanaswamy) was also present. CVC was asked to not inspect any of the CWG projects because this sort of vigilance would be considered an obstruction."

Kumar said hurried work always indicates corruption, and that the projects must last beyond the 2 weeks that the games are held. "We all know that the amount of money put in is, not just for those 15 days but, for a lifetime. My concern is whether it is going to last that," asks the former CVC. (Watch: 'CVC was asked not to inspect Games projects')

The CVC has found serious discrepancies like award of works at higher rates to bidders, poor quality of construction and grant of work to ineligible agencies in different Games-related construction works being carried out by various departments in the capital. (Read: CWG- Delhi's missed deadline)

As per the assessment report prepared by the CVC's Chief Technical Examination Wing, large-scale procedural violations, including corruption, have been noticed in 16 projects. The estimated  worth of these projects about Rs 2,000 crore.

Six of them are being done by Public Works Department (PWD), three by Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), two each by Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and one by RITES, a Government of India Enterprise, the report said.

The CTE Wing has made the assessment of construction projects following complaint of alleged corruption in them. The CVC has asked Chief Vigilance Officers to re-examine all the tenders and procurement process related to the projects.

Detractors say the report should not have been made public till the games were over.  But the former CVC, Sudhir Kumar says the report is very timely, "I think they made it public so as to alert the authorities instead of just coming up with a list after the games."