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CWG: Kalmadi issue embarrasses both Cong and BJP

CNN-IBN
Aug 03, 2011 at 11:08pm IST

New Delhi: Suresh Kalmadi's elevation as Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief is proving to be an embarrassment for both the Congress and the BJP.

For the past 24 hours, sports minister Ajay Maken has been trying his best to lay the entire responsibility for appointment Suresh Kalmadi as OC chairman on the NDA.

"It's the city government that signs the host city contract. The national Government never signs on the city government's behalf. Why did the Central Government pass the host city contract? Why was it not entrusted to the Delhi government? Why wasn't the Delhi secretary or chief secretary asked to sign up for it? The NDA government left no options for the later national government to intervene in the matter," said Ajay Maken.

But some letters accessed by CNN-IBN throw up an entirely different tale. One of the letters, written by the late Sunil Dutt, who was the sports minister in 2004, states, "I was surprised to see newspaper reports about a resolution passed by Indian Olympic Association regarding appointment of President, IOA as chairman of OC. The minutes as issued by the Cabinet Secretariat, don't reflect the decisions taken in meeting of 25th October 2004 regarding various aspects of composition of organising committee. The word "apex" instead of "organising" has been used inadvertently."

But the minutes, which were issued by the Cabinet Secretariat office, said, "An apex committee on Commonwealth Games may be set up under the chairmanship of minister of youth affairs and sports".

So the million dollars questions are - who changed the term organising committee to apex committee? Is this the variance, which the CAG has used in its report to hold the PMO responsible for appointment of Kalmadi as OC chief? And why has it taken the Government seven long years to realise that something may have been amiss with Kalmadi's appointment?

The controversy has also left the BJP red faced. The minutes of an IOA meeting held in 2008, showed how the BJP's own Vijay Kumar Malhotra had bent backwards to hail Kalmadi. Not only did he propose his name for the IOA president's post but also hailed him as a great sports administrator.

"It's totally incorrect to say that the NDA was responsible for Kalmadi," said BJP leader Vijay Goel.

Clearly, the issue of who appointed Suresh Kalmadi as OC chairman remains as a mystery, which is a long way from being solved.

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