New Delhi: Tough times are ahead for the man who once headed one of India's top sporting bodies. A special CBI court on Monday framed charges against Suresh Kalmadi for allegedly favouring Swiss Timing in the run up to the Commonwealth Games and causing a loss of Rs 95 crore to the exchequer.
Kalmadi, his key aides Lalit Bahnot and VK Verma and seven others were charged with restricting the tender process and fraudulently disqualifying MSL Spain at the pre-qualification stage. MSL Spain's bid of Rs 46 crore was much lower than Swiss Timing which charged Rs 141 crore for calculating scores during the Commonwealth Games.
CBI said the conspiracy began in 2008, when representatives of Swiss Timing PD Arya and AK Madan gave Shilpa Shetty Rs 71 lakh for a performance at the Youth Games at the behest of Kalmadi. The court in its order also referred to the CBI's argument that representatives of Swiss Timing PD Arya and AK Madan gave Rs 71 lakh to Wizcraft for a payment to Shilpa Shetty for her performance in the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008.
Kalmadi will now face trial from February 20. After being suspended from the Congress, there is a huge demand for him to be removed from all sporting bodies in the country. The Opposition says the Pune MP is just one among the many who should have been charged.
Suresh Kalmadi appeared confident in court, saying he will be acquitted as there is no evidence against him especially when all his decisions were approved by the government. The challenge for the CBI will be to prove a direct link between Kalmadi and Swiss Timing.