Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kalmadi's team to study Beijing Olympics cost the exchequer Rs 8 Crore

CWG Scam: India Today Maneesh Pandey New Delhi, February 17, 2011 Updated 09:40 IST •Kalmadi, Bhanot sacked from CWG OC• Shunglu panel slams Kalmadi, Lalli• OC paid for Mrs Kalmadi's trip: CAG
The mystery of controversial Beijing trip of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) - labelled the jumbo junket of Suresh Kalmadi - has been solved.

If the official reply to an RTI filed by Subhash Agrawal is to be believed, Kalmadi and his friends spent Rs 8.15 crore to take 166 people on board for this "study group and observer programme" to Beijing to learn "first-hand about the technical and logistics details of Olympics in August 2008".

MAIL TODAY was the first to report about the CWG junketeers, including those who made it to the Beijing Olympics as the observer group, and had pointed out that there were many in the trip who, sooner or later, had little role to play in the CWG preparations.

The RTI reply endorses this and hints further - " some of the names in the list were purely out of obligation".

For instance, Chhattisgarh governor Shekhar Dutt, then the deputy national security adviser.

What was his role in the OC? Sources in the government said that Dutt was on leave from office to enjoy Kalmadi's party.

He was, in fact, present at the sports presentation event at Hotel Guo Yi in Beijing on August 19. He had signed in the visitors' register as deputy NSA and member OC, CWG.

There were others like National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and his son-inlaw and Congress leader Sachin Pilot, who had little connection with the sporting event.

Even the name of Nafisa Ali among the 166 Beijing junketeers raises question. There were some like Vijay Goel, who was later shown the door by Kalmadi.

The team also included four persons from Pune whose contributions to the OC are hard to assess.

However, they are being probed by the investigators. The trip, nevertheless, came at a cost of `8.15 crore, says the official reply.

It is anybody's guess what the group learnt in Beijing and how effectively it implemented the lessons back home.

The trip was meant to be a "learning experience to understand the physical environments of the Games being conducted there".

Also, the observer group was required to keep a record of processes, operational needs and policies which would have supported the organisation of the Games.

Interestingly, one of the key sessions, which the OC claimed to have been attended by the group, was related to ticketing, workforce and technology. The ticket distribution mess during the CWG, the accreditation and other technical glitches only explain what the group had actually learnt from the trip.
Suresh Kalmadi spent Rs 8 cr on his Beijing junket

Comment: Suresh Kalmadi's largesse to his Cronies and Sycophants down the drain. Had he only taken professional help from the Indian Armed Forces Kalmadi could have saved the Nation 8 Core Rupees!

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