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Amid the controversies he is caught in, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has vowed to reopen corruption cases from the 2010 Commonwealth Games held during the Congress regime. Rahul Tripathi looks at the cases and their status.
The Commonwealth Games corruption cases that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has set about reopening have seen the CBI lodge 19 FIRs, only to go on to close eight of those cases. Of the remaining 11, four are said to be on the verge of closure with the cases believed too weak to be probed further.
The remaining seven are in various stages of trial. One of these cases is awaiting the execution of a letter rogatory, the CBI said in an email reply to The Indian Express.
The games were held in 2010, when the Congress was in power in Delhi, by an organising committee headed by Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi.
Of 10 preliminary enquiries, too, eight have been closed as the CBI could not substantiate the allegations. Of the cases that have gone into trial, two are in an advanced stage. One relates to a contract to a Swiss company for timings and scoring; the chargesheet names Kalmadi. The other relates to a contract for the upgrade of the Shivaji and Talkatora stadiums; former New Delhi Municipal Corporation chairman Parimal Rai has been named.
Before the CBI took up the probe, the Prime Minister had appointed the V K Shunglu committee to examine the various contracts awarded and work done by government and private agencies. The committee blamed the then Delhi chief minister, the lieutenant governor, the Delhi Development Authority and various agencies for mishandling of the event. It found that the total approved expenditure for organising the mega event was Rs 14,000 crore and estimated the actual expenditure at only Rs 7,988 crore.
The Shunglu committee suggested a CBI probe. The CBI, which registered its cases between 2010 and 2012 and set up a special investigation team, refers to the Shunglu committee’s findings. “CBI has registered many cases based on the conclusions of Shunglu committee… In quite a few cases, although a number of procedural irregularities have emerged, yet there is no concrete evidence to launch a prosecution,” the CBI said in an internal note.
Here is a look at the various cases and their status.
The figures for approved and actual expenditure are as per the Shunglu committee report. In some cases, the CBI findings about losses caused might not match the committee’s.
SIS Live coverage
Approved expenditure: Rs 482.57 crore
Actual expenditure: Rs 246 crore
UK-based firm SIS Live was awarded a contract of Rs 246 crore for production and coverage of the games. The CBI registered a case on March 3, 2011, against suspended Prasar Bharati CEO B S Lalli, SIS Live, and chairman and managing director of Delhi-based Zoom Communications Wasim Dehlvi. The agency alleged that the Prasar Bharati CEO had extended undue favours to the firm in the award and execution of the contract in spite of objections from various quarters within Prasar Bharati. It also alleged that a number of conditions in the contract were relaxed in favour of the UK-based firm, including a provision pertaining to sub-contracting. A major portion of the contract was sub-contracted by SIS Live to Zoom Communications, for Rs 176 crore.
In August 2012, the CBI filed a closure report in the court saying it had found no substantive evidence about a fraud or a conspiracy in the award of the broadcasting rights.
Badminton, squash courts
Approved expenditure: Rs 154 crore
Actual expenditure: Rs 118 crore
The CBI FIR on September 12, 2011, was against 10 DDA officials, including retired chief engineer V K Panchal and executive engineer N C Godlaw, and Mumbai-based private company B E Billimoria & Co. It relates to alleged irregularities in the contract for construction of badminton and squash courts at Siri Fort Stadium.
The CBI alleged that DDA officials had inflated the project’s cost, resulting in a loss of Rs 36 crore to the exchequer. The FIR said, “In the process of award of work to Billimoria, DDA officials justified the inflated cost of the work quoted by the firm and circumvented the single-bid situation in its favour.”
The agency also carried out searches at 21 places in Delhi, Mumbai and Gurgaon. However, after nearly two years, in June 2013, the agency submitted a closure report citing insufficient evidence.
During its probe, the agency had summoned and questioned several government officials, including retired ones.
Synthetic athletics tracks
Approved expenditure : Rs 51 crore
Actual expenditure: Rs 38.50 crore
The case involves alleged irregularities in a contract for laying synthetic tracks at five stadiums. In its FIR, the CBI named several senior engineers with the CPWD, PWD and DDA as well as Shiv Pratap Singh, owner of Shiv Naresh Sports Pvt Ltd. The agency alleged that the officers had colluded with the owner of Shiv Naresh Sports to help it grab a contract worth Rs 60.37 crore. “In furtherance of the criminal conspiracy, the private firm quoted exorbitant rates which were wrongfully justified by the accused officials of CPWD and DDA. The allegations also include undue favour to the firm by circumventing the eligibility criteria in the award of contract,” stated the FIR. The CBI filed a closure report last July.
Swimming pool renovation
Approved expenditure: Rs 377 crore
Actual expenditure: Rs 145 crore
The CBI FIR on August 6, 2011, was against eight CPWD officials, including project manager for the CWG S S Mondal (now retired), and two companies for allegedly inflating rates of various items in the renovation of the Syama Prasad Mookerjee swimming pool complex. The CBI has named Ahluwalia Contracts (India) Ltd and a joint venture between Consulting Engineering Service and Schlaich Bergernann, Germany, for allegedly jacking up the cost of renovation to Rs 229 crore.
The FIR stated, “The accused officials, by artificially jacking up the rates of various items, connived with the private parties and thereby in an irregular and illegal manner helped facilitate award of tender of upgradation and renovation of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Swimming Pool Complex… to the said private firms at exorbitant rate of Rs 229 crore.”
The case was closed last August with the CBI citing lack of evidence.
Approved expenditure: Rs 549 crore
Actual expenditure: Rs 498 crore
The CBI case on May 25, 2011, was against officials of the PWD and private firms for construction of the Barapullah Nullah flyover, meant to ease traffic at Ashram Chowk and in East Delhi. It alleged that the contractor and PWD officials had inflated the cost. The agency booked eight officials including a PWD chief engineer besides the contractor, the company DSC Ltd, and several others on allegations of escalating the cost by over Rs 100 crore. After a two-year-long probe, the agency filed a closure report in January 2013 as it could not find enough evidence of any quid pro quo.
Approved expenditure: Rs 572 crore
Actual expenditure: Rs 182 crore
The CBI registered an FIR on June 6, 2011, against MTNL officers and “unknown persons” of a Noida- based private company dealing in optical fibre transmission for the award of a contract for a broadcast network. The allegation was that MTNL awarded the work for a network based on IP/MPLS technology at an exorbitant price — Rs 570.12 crore — by tailoring the specifications to suit the company, Broadcast Video Network.
It alleged that while the broadcasting data transmission requirements were very limited and based on optical fibre transmission, with an initial estimate of approximately Rs. 31.43 crore having been prepared, the MTNL in its proposal included Broadcast Video Network based on IP/MPLS technology and this enhanced the network cost by Rs 380.04 crore.
In its closure report last November, the CBI said the allegations of corruption could not be substantiated.
Lawn Bowl Greens
Approved expenditure: Rs 9.88 crore
Actual expenditure:Rs 6 crore
This was yet another case in which officials of the DDA, the CPWD and a private firm were named. Jubilee Sports Technology Pvt Ltd laid synthetic lawn bowl greens for the games. The CBI alleged that the cost of the contract was inflated from Rs 6 crore to Rs 9.88 crore by including false amounts. The agency sent letter rogatories to the UK seeking details of material that had been transported to Delhi for laying the artificial turf. The replies were received last year, after which the agency said there wasn’t enough evidence and decided to close the case. The closure report was filed in September.
Talkatora Stadium floors
Approved expenditure: Rs 160 crore
Actual expenditure: Rs 60 crore
CBI sources said they had filed two FIRs in connection with alleged irregularities in the award of a contract for renovation of the basement and five floors at Talkatora Stadium. One of these cases has been closed while the other is among those considered too weak to pursue, they said.
The agency carried out investigations for more than a year and filed the closure report on December 21, 2012, citing insufficient evidence.
The case was registered on May 3, 2011, and the CBI has since filed a chargesheet against six organising committee officials and two private firms for undue favours extended in the appointment of a master licensee for merchandising and retailing. The CBI alleged that games officials entered into a criminal conspiracy with those of the two firms and extended favours to PBPL in appointing it official master licensee for merchandising, and online and retail concessionaire for sportswear, casual wear and kids’ wear against a minimum royalty of Rs 7.05 crore.
Talkatora & Shivaji stadiums
The CBI registered the case on March 9, 2011 and has also filed a chargesheet on alleged corruption in the renovation contracts. The CBI has sought the government’s nod to prosecute former NDMC chairman Parimal Rai on charges of accepting favours in contracts for upgrading Shivaji Stadium. The CBI has alleged that the accused abused their official positions and awarded contracts to upgrade and renovate the stadiums at inflated, exorbitant rates.
Baton relay (2 cases)
Two FIRs relating to the Queen’s baton relay were registered by the CBI in November 2010, with a chargesheet filed in both. The CBI said part of the replies of a letter rogatory sent to the UK is still awaited. The CBI alleges that London-based businessman Ashish Patel’s firms had bagged two contracts worth over Rs 2 crore in an irregular manner. The committee’s deal with one firm, AM Films, was for the installation of three video screens near Buckingham Palace in London. AM Cars & Vans got the contract for providing logistics, including transportation.
Timings, scoring and results
The notional estimated loss is Rs 49 crore. This case, which names Suresh Kalmadi, was registered on November 29, 2010. Besides Kalmadi, the CWG organising committee’s secretary general Lalit Bhanot and director general V K Verma have also been named accused in the charge-sheet. Two companies have been named, with the CBI describing Kalmadi as “main accused” in awarding the contract to a Swiss firm.
Streetlights in MCD areas
This case was registered even before the CWG started, on June 6, 2010. A chargesheet was filed in August 2012. The CBI has named MCD officials and two firms for allegedly manipulating tender papers for upgrading streetlights in MCD areas.
The CBI alleges the organising committee spent more than required on the lanyards of the medals.
Too weak to begin
Eight of the 10 preliminary enquiries started by the CBI were closed without being converted into FIRs. Here are five of them:
* Renovation of Connaught Place: The ambitious project of the NDMC is still under way (file photo above). The CBI filed a PE in February 2012 in connection with alleged irregularities in the project; these were also taken up in a CAG report. The PE was closed when the CBI said no case could be made out for lack of evidence.
* Upgrade of streetlights in NDMC areas: NDMC officials had been named along with a Rajouri Garden-based company and Philips India Ltd for an alleged conspiracy in the award of the contract.
* Games village bailout package: The DDA’s Rs-728.89-crore bailout package to Emaar MGF for constructing CWG village came under the scanner. The case was finally closed with the CBI saying that the allegations could not be substantiated.
* Use of imported luminaries for street lighting: The PE was registered by the CBI on the findings of the Shunglu committee. The allegation was that the imports were made without technical and market surveys and a cost benefit analysis . The agency later found that the decision was not taken with any mala fide intention. And the officials said that they had no time to conduct the surveys and the analysis.
* Hiring of consultants: The games organising committee had hired 35 high-profile consultants at Rs 50.80 lakh per month to advise on various sectors and preparation. The CBI could not substantiate allegations of any corruption in this.
Workforce and risk
Management: The case is against Suresh Kalmadi and the CEO of a Switzerland-based company and his firm. The CBI alleged that officials of the organising committee were guilty of irregularities at various stages in the award of two contracts, Games Workforce Service and Games Planning, Project & Risk Management Services, to the firm.
Overlays: The alleged loss caused by this contract is Rs 600 crore, according to CBI estimates. The case was registered on January 5, 2011, and led to the arrest of a businessman and organising committee officials, who later got bail. The work on overlays included supply of tents, portable toilets and air-conditioners. The charges also included irregularities in bids for LED boards, athletic equipment and furniture.
Games News Service: The case was registered on May 7, 2012, on allegations that the contract was awarded to a Dutch firm on a single-tender basis. The contract, worth over Rs 9 crore, was for producing news and editorial content and for managing facilities to media contingents covering the event. The CBI suspects that though the cost of services rendered by Dutch company was around Rs 60 lakh, the organising committee had paid around Rs 6.60 crore.
Talkatora Stadium floors: One of two FIRs in connection with a contract for renovation of the basement and five floors. The other case has been closed while this one is considered weak.