The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on the 2010 Commonwealth Games has indicted the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for the appointment of Suresh Kalmadi as the Organising Committee Chief. The CAG has also named the erstwhile NDA government for the mess in CWG.
The UPA government, including Sports Minister Ajay Maken, instead of brazenly trying to shift the blame to the previous NDA government for Kalmadi’s appointment should answer what action they took to correct the wrong committed by NDA. Despite letters to the PM by their own sports ministers (Late Sunil Dutt and Mani Shankar Aiyar), the PMO recommended Kalmadi as OC Chairman.
The explosive CAG report states:
The bid document of May 2003 envisaged the OC as a Governmnet-owned registered society, with the Chairman of the OC Executive Board (EB) being a government appointee, and the IOA President being the EB Vice-Chairman. However, the OC was ultimately set up as a non-Government registered society, with the IOA President, Shri Suresh Kalmadi as the Chairman of the OCEB. This change was orchestrated through a chronology of events, commencing with a document titled as an “updated bid” with the dateline of December 2003. This has no legal sanctity or relevance, since the Games had already been bid and awarded to Delhi in November 2003. This document indicated the OC as a non-Government society and also removed references to the IOA President as EB Vice-Chairman. These changes were objected to, and highlighted, by the erstwhile Minister, YAS, late Shri Sunil Dutt in November 2004 in correspondence with Shri Arjun Singh (Chairman, GoM) and the Prime Minister. These objections were ignored, and Shri Kalmadi’s views prevailed. In our view, the decision to appoint Shri Kalmadi as the OC Chairman, based on a PMO recommendation, facilitated the conversion of the originally envisaged Government-owned OC into a body outside Governmental control, without commensurate accountability to Government and concomitant controls to ensure propriety and transparency. This was despite full financial guarantee and funding from Government. The late Shri SK Arora, Secretary, MYAS had, in 2007, highlighted the lack of effective authority with GoI representatives on the OC EB, and concluded that all decision-making was concentrated with the Chairman. He suggested multiple options – allowing OC to retain its flexibility and financial autonomy, but without direct financing by GoI; empowering the EB and providing GoI with control over high-value financial commitments; or broadbasing the OC’s EB on the pattern of the 1982 Asian Games with representation from GoI and GNCTD at ministerial level. Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, the erstwhile Minister, YAS, also highlighted the Ministry’s ineffective position in exercising control over the OC to the PMO and GoM in 2007. This was, however, met with strong resistance from the Chairman, OC and did not yield the desired results.
The absence of a single point of authority and accountability for ensuring the successful conduct of CWG-2010 and the lack of a a clear governance structure led to ad hoc creation of a multiplicity of co-ordination committees that were created, disbanded, and reconstituted at different points of time. This approach was not methodical, consistent and effective, and also led to complete diffusion of accountability. This was unlike the structure of the Melbourne CWG-2006, where the Victorian Government oversaw the planning and delivery of the Games through a specially formed Cabinet Committee. The Minister for Commonwealth Games was specifically empowered and responsible under the Commonwealth Games Arrangements Act 2001.