The Sports Ministry on Sunday failed to convince a Parliamentary panel on reasons behind appointment of Suresh Kalmadi as the chief of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee despite strong reservations by three ministers against the move.
Top Sports Ministry officials who appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) did not give a satisfactory explanation for the reasons behind the appointment and continuation of Kalmadi as the OC chief despite three consecutive Sports Ministers expressing strong reservations against the decision, sources said.
The PAC is examining the CAG report on the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
The government auditor had dragged the PMO in the CWG mess saying Kalmadi was appointed OC chief at its behest in 2004 despite "serious objections".
The Ministry was also grilled on how the Sovereign Guarantee signed by the Centre for the CWG bid was open-ended and had no cap.
They were asked how a non-government agency "with little transparency and accountability" given rights to spend "unlimited" amount of funds without a cap, the sources said.
Ministry officials were also asked how the budget for the Games shot up from Rs 200 crore to 19,000 crore. The officials explained that since there was little time to prepare, budget was hiked as the nation's "pride" was at stake.
On the issue of Kalmadi, Sports Ministry officials were grilled on the basis of letters written by three former Sports Ministers Sunil Dutt, Mani Shankar Aiyar and M S Gill to the Prime Minister.
In his letter, Dutt had recalled that the bidding document had no mention of Kalmadi. He had asked the PM to withdraw the minutes of the meeting which said that Kalmadi will head the OC saying it was not decided in the meeting on the issue.
Aiyar too had expressed reservations over the continuation of Kalmadi.
Gill had wondered how the apex body had "creeped in" from somewhere though it was not earlier envisaged.
Referring to the controversial appointment of Kalmadi, the CAG report had said, "the (CWG) bid document of May 2003 envisaged the OC as a 'government-owned registered society' with the Chairman of OC Executive Board (EB) being a government appointee, and the IOA President being only the EB Vice Chairman."
However, "the OC was ultimately set up in February 2005 as a 'non-government registered society' with the IOA President Shri Suresh Kalmadi as the Chairman of the OC EB," it said.