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Kalmadi to Dikshit: Commonwealth loot
Suresh Kalmadi was chairman of the Organising Committee of Commonwealth Games 2010. Shiela Dikshit as chief minister shouldered part of Games responsibility. It is alleged that the LOOT organised therein was the order of the day.

SURESH KALMADI was the fall guy of the Commonwealth Games 2010. It was an open secret that he made money wherever his footfall was heard or his bearded face seen. The high profile Member of Parliament, an able sports administrator and an ex-Air Force Officer would be put behind bars was beyond the wildest imagination of politicians, bureaucrats and wheeler dealers associated with the Commonwealth Games 2010. Kalmadi had been handpicked by the PMO, an euphemism for Prime Minister, and retained in post as Chairman of the Organising Committee of the mega event that did India proud. Even the then Sports Minister and star-hero of yesteryears, Sunil Dutt’s protest to PM that he replace Kalmadi did not cut much ice. Suresh Kalmadi stayed put in the hot seat that was a gold mine. Nevertheless, it proved to be his undoing as the Central Bureau of Investigation tightened its noose around his neck and send him to Tihar jail to await the final word of the judiciary.


Now there is a fall girl. It is Sheila Diskshit, the present Chief Minister of Delhi enjoying her third tenure in office. She was a roaring success at the hustings thrice and the cynical Delhi voters casted their ballots in her party’s favour. Then came the Commonwealth Games where the Delhi government had as much at stake as the govt of India or the Indian Olympic Association. They had undertaken joint responsibility to stage the big show and make it a grand success. She kept her word but at the cost of the exchequer. And the cost was high. Every project that she launched  smacked of corruption, be it road widening and carpeting, making the lighting world class, laying out gardens in old parks, building or improving existing stadiums, like the Jawaharlal Nehru, Shivaji stadium and so on. In many projects the cost of renovation surpassed the figure of building a new one. She was allegedly leading the charge of the Corrupt Brigade.

The Media, however, dug out facts and figures to impress the powers and convince them that All Was Not Well. The PMO was so concerned that it appointed a committee under Justice Shungloo to investigate bungling, if any, in the staging of the Commonwealth Games that had by now acquired a nick name of Commonwealth Loot. Some critics made a rapier sharp thrust and said that like in olden days the winner of a battle pleased soldiers by announcing “LOOT KI CHCHOOT HAI”. My God! Here the old saying – old order changeth yielding place to new – did not apply. Everyone had had his fill and honest supervisors, if any, looked the other way.

Ah! Wonder of wonders. Sheila Dikshit took the report of the Shungloo Committee non-challantly and just smiled it away. While Kalmadi was languishing in the Tihar jail complaining of a disease called Dementia, the old girl was enjoying fresh air on the lush green lawns of her bungalow in Lutyen’s New Delhi.

It was not long before Heavens fell and nearly crushed her. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India, an independent constitutional authority, indicted Shiela Dikshit and her government for financial bungling to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees. The chief minister of Delhi and her government were caught in the quagmire of major financial bungling amounting to corruption. It was CAG-mire, many shades worse than the import of the original word, quagmire.

CAG took pains to dig into details and unearth the modus operandi of many a corrupt practices of the Delhi government of which the Lt Governor, Tejinder Khanna is a part as the Head. Various projects of roads, street lighting and greening of the metropolis were unduly delayed. As the D Day approached, Panic with a capital P was let loose and everyone from top to bottom said that the work must be completed on time, irrespective of escalation in cost. Many procedural checks and balances were done away with and the bottom line was: onward march; cost no bar. Thus a new vista opened for the corrupt to dictate their terms, have projects’ estimate reassessed and enhanced many folds and drew huge amounts as an advance money to attract contractors.

Sheila Dikshit has admitted that the job had to be done in a short period of time and, therefore, more money was spent than the original estimate. It happens when the name of the nation is involved. The buzz word was: Go, man, go.

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In This Article
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