Delhi govt orders new Commonwealth Games probe

February 07, 2014 - 9:21:10 am

NEW DELHI: Delhi’s newly elected chief minister yesterday ordered a investigation into alleged corruption surrounding the scandal-tainted 2010 Commonwealth Games in the Indian capital, an official said.

Arvind Kejriwal asked the state anti-corruption bureau to investigate alleged irregularities in a deal by the previous Delhi state government to buy expensive imported street lights before the event.

“The Delhi government has reopened the case of CWG (Commonwealth Games) scams,” said a spokesman for Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party. Spokesman Dilip Pandey said Kejriwal had ordered a probe into the `310m ($5m) contract for the lights. The probe could put former chief minister and veteran Congress party leader Sheila Dikshit under the spotlight just as Congress, which rules at the national level, gears up for a general election due by May.

Dikshit, who was chief minister during the Games, has previously denied any wrongdoing over the event, which was marred by allegations organisers received kickbacks in handing out contracts for services and equipment.

The Games were meant to showcase India’s status as an emerging global power. But the sporting headlines were stolen by venue delays, shoddy construction and budget overruns that saw the cost of the event triple to $6bn.

Earlier yesterday Kejriwal said he would not spare anyone involved in corruption, even if it meant losing the support of Congress. His party relies on Congress at the state level for legislative support but they are rivals at the national level.  India’s national auditor in 2011 accused the Delhi government of wasteful spending of at least $29 million during its “ill-conceived and ill-planned” programme to beautify the city before the Games.

After the Games, Congress party lawmaker Suresh Kalmadi was sacked as chairman of the Games organising committee, as police investigated claims organisers manipulated tenders and knowingly inflated costs.

Kalmadi, a former Indian Olympic Association chief, is currently on bail after spending 10 months in jail on charges of corruption. Kejriwal’s AAP party took office last month after Congress was routed at the elections in Delhi and three other states.AFP

SIT probe into 1984 riots recommended

New Delhi: The Delhi government yesterday recommended the setting up of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in which 2,000 people from the community were killed. The recommendation will be sent to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. 

“We have decided to recommend to the Lt Governor to form an SIT on the killing of Sikhs in the 1984 riots. This is a blot on the history of India,” Delhi minister Manish Sisodia told reporters after a cabinet meeting.The SIT will be given a year to complete its work from the date of it coming into existence, said a government press release.

Riots broke out in the capital following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her bodyguards on October 31, 1984. Sisodia said the SIT should not comprise Delhi Police personnel.