CWG officials suspended, sponsorship deal scrapped
The Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee on Thursday suspended three of its officials over alleged irregularities in the Queen's Baton Relay, scrapped a controversial sponsorship deal with Sports Marketing and Management Private Limited (SMAM) and appointed A.K. Mattoo as its new treasurer.
The measures followed an outcry after media reports about alleged corruption in preparations for the CWG.
Mattoo replaces Khanna
Mattoo replaces Anil Khanna, who had resigned earlier in the day over allegations of nepotism in a contract for laying synthetic surfaces at the R.K. Khanna Tennis Stadium, a CWG venue.
SMAM deal scrapped
Lalit Bhanot, secretary general of the CWG Organising Committee, said that the controversial sponsorship deal with SMAM had been scrapped.
"Legal opinion was obtained in July and it was decided to terminate the deal with SMAM in August, when only three days of notice need to be served," Bhanot said, reiterating that no commission had been paid to SMAM.
Baton Relay probe goes to ED
Bhanot also said that a three-member probe panel of the Organising Committee had decided to hand over to the Enforcement Directorate the probe related to alleged irregularities in organising the Queen's Baton Relay in London.
"Until the inquiry is over, T.S. Darbari, Sanjay Mohindroo and M. Jayachandran would remain suspended," he said.
Bhanot backs Kalmadi
Bhanot said the Organising Committee was open to investigation by any agency. Defending Organising Committee chairperson Suresh Kalmadi, he said: "Over 1,500 officials are part of the team. The senior management is not in direct control of every employee. Hundreds of papers come for signatures and one has to be trusting of others (in the team)."
"We are here to conduct the Games. This is not the time to run. We need to deliver a successful Games, and we will do that," Bhanot said.
Asked why Kalmadi had skipped the press briefing, Bhanot said he would speak to the media when the time was right.
Bhanot also sought to justify the estimated Rs 50-crore expense on balloons for the CWG opening ceremony. He said that when three billion people would be watching the ceremony worldwide, the standards had to be high.
Taking charge of the treasurer's post, Mattoo assured transparency in all dealings of the Organising Committee.
"A lot of work needs to be done. There is no room for manipulation. Nobody who has done any wrong will be pardoned," said Mattoo, who as Hockey India president in January came under fire from players over their payments.