- Raids were conducted over alleged graft in SAI's transport department.
- SAI Director SK Sharma was arrested along with three other officials.
- The accused officials used to procure office stationery and furniture.
The CBI arrested four officials of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) -- including its Director -- during a raid on the agency's Lodhi Road office in New Delhi on Thursday. Two other individuals were also taken into custody in the course of the operation.
A CBI team reportedly reached the SAI headquarters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium around 5 pm and sealed the premises. "There were complaints that some officials were taking bribes for approving work," ANI quoted a source as saying. The sports authority had reportedly asked the CBI to investigate the matter, he added.
According to news agency PTI, the CBI arrested SAI Director SK Sharma, Junior Accounts Officer Harinder Prasad, Supervisor Lalit Jolly and senior official VK Sharma, besides private contractor Mandeep Ahuja and his employee Yunus. It is alleged that the officials were sitting on pending bills of Rs 19 lakh, demanding 3% of the amount as bribe in return for clearing them.
"The matter came to light over six months ago, after which the director general informed the sports minister. The director general wrote to the CBI on the minister's insistence," the source said, adding that the accused officials were responsible for procuring office stationery, electronic equipment and furniture for SAI offices.
"There is zero tolerance for corruption in the SAI. We will support any action against corruption," said SAI director general Neelam Kapoor.
Hours later, Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore posted a video describing the Narendra Modi government's resolve to free society of corruption. "We came to know a few months ago that some officials of the sports authority were indulging in corruption," he said in the video post. "We could have ignored the matter, but that would not have solved it. As expected from our government, we gave the case to the appropriate investigation agency. The CBI probed it for a few months before conducting a raid this evening. Some SAI officials have been arrested, and the probe is being taken to its logical conclusion."
Mr Rathore said his government's aim was to ensure that sports is not sullied by corruption. "We want to free the sports ministry, every ministry for that matter, of all sorts of corruption. We are committed to making our systems transparent and fair," he added.
Further details are awaited.
(With inputs from Agencies)