Court slaps cheating charges against Kalmadi, 9 others

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) A Delhi court Monday formally slapped charges of forgery and cheating against former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi and nine others in a corruption case related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The BJP welcomed the move and sought action also against Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for alleged lapses.

The 10 accused were present in the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court when Judge Ravinder Kaur framed the charges. All accused are at present out of prison on bail.

The court order came in a case against Kalmadi and his associates, including former Organising Committee secretary general Lalit Bhanot, in the case related to financial irregularities in awarding a Rs.141 crore contract for time, scoring and records system for the Games.

The court earlier passed the order for framing the charges for illegally awarding the Rs.141 crore contract to Swiss firm Swiss Timing Omega that caused a loss of over Rs.90 crore to the exchequer. Kalmadi was arrested in the case April 26, 2011.

The court had said that prima facie charges of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and offences under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act were made out.

The court said: "Charges under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy), 201 (destruction of evidence), 420 (cheating), 467, 468, 471 (relating to forgery), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and Section 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) (criminal misconduct by public servants) of the PC (prevention of corruption) Act are ordered to be framed against all the accused."

The CBI, in its first charge sheet, described Kalmadi, who is a Lok Sabha member, as the prime accused and the mastermind in the corruption case related to financial irregularities in awarding the contract.

Besides Kalmadi and Bhanot, the other accused in the case are the Organising Committee's former director general V.K. Verma, former director general (procurement) Surjit Lal, former joint director general (sports) A.S.V. Prasad and former treasurer M. Jayachandran.

Promoters of two construction companies - P.D. Arya and A.K. Madan of Faridabad-based Gem International and A.K. Reddy of Hyderabad-based AKR Constructions - are also accused in the case. Swiss Timing Omega is an accused too.

Welcoming the court order, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sought to know if action would also be taken against Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for alleged irregularities during the 2010 Games.

"While the BJP welcomed the belated charge-sheeting of Suresh Kalmadi", it would like to know about the other recommendations of the committee, which was constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to examine the entire CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) report pertaining to the Commonwealth Games, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

The V.K. Shunglu Committee had in 2011 blamed Delhi Lt. Governor Tejinder Khanna and Dikshit for procedural violations and inadequacies in executing projects related to the Commonwealth Games.