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Govt to look into corruption charges in Commonwealth projects: MS Gill

Thursday, 5 August 2010 - 1:59pm IST | Place: New Delhi

However, the sports minister rejected demand from nominated member Mani Shankar Aiyar for a high-level committee on the lines of the one set up in the country for the 1982 Asian Games.

Government today assured the Rajya Sabha that it will look into the charges of corruption in the Commonwealth Games projects in the national capital but ruled out setting up of an apex committee to oversee the Games.

"As far as corruption is concerned, government will take all actions. I will write to the authorities including finance minister (and request him) please go seriously into... if there is anything," sports minister MS Gill said in the Rajya Sabha.

Referring to the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and CAG, he said the agencies must speed up action and "catch whoever is (responsible)".

However, he rejected demand from nominated member Mani Shankar Aiyar for a high-level committee on the lines of the one set up in the country for the 1982 Asian Games, stating "these committees serve nothing."

In a dig at his predecessor, Gill said Aiyar "has vast international experience but I also have my administrative judgement. If more committees could solve the problem of the country, we could have 10 more, but that is not a solution".

Aiyar made the demand for an apex committee headed by Gill to oversee the functioning of the games "in view of the patent failure to deliver untainted and clear games".

Gill said now that only 55 days are left for the games, there was no alternative but to host them with success.

"Have faith in India, India will get there... God is with us," Gill said adding all 13 major stadiums, including Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium are ready.

The CVC has found serious discrepancies like award of works at higher rates to bidders, poor quality of construction and grant of work to ineligible agencies in different Games-related construction works. Political parties such as BJP and CPI(M) demanded action against the guilty.

Gill rejected the proposal of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to bid for the 2019 Asian Games. "The decision to host the games has to be taken after extensive inter-ministerial consultations...", he said.

Gill said the IOA had on April 28 this year sought 'in-principle' approval to host the 2019 Asian Games. It has projected an operating budget of $401 million for conduct of the games and likely generation of $450 million.

These projects are based on the budget and revenue of the Guangzhou Asian Games 2010 and "have little relevance in the context of hosting the games in India in 2019, he said.

"Accordingly, the present proposal submitted by IOA does not merit consideration", the sports minister said.

He said adverse media reports about the CWG projects would not influence the decision to bid for the Asian Games. However, the decision to make a bid would have to be taken after consultations with the ministries of finance and home before clearance from the Cabinet.

If the Asian Games were to held in India, the government would also have to decide whether Delhi or any other city will play host.

Several countries like South Korea use the games for developing small cities.

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