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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Finally, FIR on catering could name Kalmadi

Commonwealth Games chief organizer Suresh Kalmadi
Sacked Commonwealth Games chief organizer Suresh Kalmadi will for the first time be named by the CBI in a case relating to losses of close to Rs 16 crore incurred due to delays and retendering of the main catering contract for the Games Village.
Meanwhile, CBI also searched two of Kalmadi's bank lockers in ICICI and Saraswat banks that were sealed by it in December.
CBI plans to register a first information report (FIR) naming Kalmadi as an accused in a few days.
While Kalmadi aides are under arrest in criminal and fraud cases relating to the Queen's Baton Relay and a contract for scoring, timing and results equipment for the graft-hit Games, the Pune MP is now directly linked to the contract that was retendered despite an in-house warning of escalated costs.
Australian firm Delaware North won the catering contract for the Games Village near Delhi's Akshardham temple which was cancelled on the ground that the company failed to submit earnest money. Yet, the same firm got the bid again after the contract was tendered afresh at an enhanced cost.
The failure to deposit earnest money could be set right with the firm asked to pay up, an internal OC note said pointing out that retendering could mean higher costs while stretching deadlines dangerously close to the mega sports event scheduled to begin on October 3, 2009.
Kalmadi has defended his decision saying, "The contract was cancelled because earnest money wasn't paid by Delaware. I went strictly according to rules."
The ex-OC chief overrode a note written by special director general Jiji Thomson, an IAS officer deputed to the Organizing Committee. "At the risk of sounding like a Cassandra" there are risks attached to cancelling the Delaware North contract, the note said.
With the first contract annulled in early 2010, the fresh award took time forcing OC to take emergency measures to ensure that kitchen catering to 7,000-odd athletes was ready for the Games as Delaware North insisted it will not, as earlier envisaged, deliver a turnkey project.
The OC had no option but to buy kitchen equipment worth Rs 8 crore from a UK firm PKL, a supplier identified by Delaware North. Further, it hired two special flights costing another Rs 8 crore instead of Rs 50 lakh by sea passage as originally planned. OC remains saddled with the kitchen equipment four-and-a-half months after the Games got over.
An agency source said, "We have analysed documents of the catering contract and losses suffered. Kalmadi delayed tendering first and then rebidding was done. He was actively involved in the decision."

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