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Sports secy tells Kalmadi to suspend 2 officials

By A Correspondent
Last updated on: August 03, 2010 16:09 IST
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The Centre on Tuesday directed Suresh Kalmadi, convener of the Commonwealth Games, to relieve immediately T S Darbari and Dr Sanjay Mahindroo, senior officials holding high positions in the CWG Organising Committee, on alleged corruption charges.

There is a customs case pending against Darbari and he has been suspended pending his clearance.

Clearly, there is tremendous drama over the matter. Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister S M Krishna summoned Kalmadi to the ministry of external affairs to explain things after Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Nalin Surie sent a six-page summary of the London angle to the corruption charges in the Commonwealth Games.

Surie's information is said to have caused ripples in South Block, which houses both the Prime Minister's Office and the ministry of external affairs.

In his communication, Surie is reported to have narrated the events from April to July when pressure was brought to bear on the diplomats of the high commission, including through visits, telephone calls etc.

Surie is also reported to have mentioned the visit of two senior officials of the Royal Revenue Service to the high commission. On the suggestion of the Indian mission, the RRS wrote to the high commission and Surie in turn asked the deputy high commissioner to write to Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra and Sports Secretary Sindhushree Khullar.

In her letter to Kalmadi, Sports Secretary Sindhushree Khullar said such developments 'tarnish the image of the Games and adversely affect its credibility.'

The letter is reproduced below:

Secretary, Sports

File number 1/8/SP 2010 dated August 1, 2010

Dear Shri Suresh Kalmadi

Please refer to my DO letter on February 11, 2010, in which I had brought to your notice a disturbing report in the Indian Express on February 10 regarding the alleged involvement of T S Darbari, joint director general of CWG.

The CWG being a prestigious national event and the alleged involvement of a senior officer of the Organising Committee in a matter such as this would be highly detrimental to the reputation of the Games and therefore I had advised you that Darbari, who was reported to be in charge of revenue marketing, be relieved immediately of all his charges.

2. Subsequently, DO letter 20 April 2010, JS to my department had also written to CEO, CWG, in the context of my earlier letter and advised that Darbari, who had been deputed for a visit to Australia with the Queen Baton Relay, may be withdrawn from the team touring Australia while the case regarding the alleged irregularities under the Customs Act was still pending.

Further, DO letter JS from my department had again advised Darbari in the light of the alleged involvement in the customs case should not have been sent to Australia on official work without prior approval of sports ministry. A further letter from JS Sports on April 28, 2010, reiterated the same concern.

3. However, by letter April 23, you had informed us that since there is no case or charge against Darbari by Customs, the question of divesting Darbari of his charge in OC does not arise. Revenue department has now informed us that on the basis of the details furnished by the passenger, summons were issued to Darbari in the given address but Darbari expressed his inability to appear at Cochin on medical grounds. His request for recording his statement at Delhi was acceded to and his statement was recorded by Superintendent Customs on April 5, 2010. Further investigation is in progress to check the veracity of the statement of Darbari.

4. The print and electronic media have recently highlighted inter alia the alleged involvement of T S Darbari and Sanjay Mahindroo, DDG, in some alleged irregularities in payments to a UK company for services provided for the launch of Queen Baton Relay in London in October 2009. This matter has been referred to the government by the HM, Revenue and Customs Department of the UK, through the Indian High Commission in London.

5. You will appreciate that with the Commonwealth Games just in two months away, matters such as the above raise questions about the standards of priority and integrity of officers in the Organising Committee. They tarnish the image of the Games and adversely affect its credibility.

6. I would therefore again strongly advise you that the above two officers should be immediately relieved of all their duties in the OC and the government informed accordingly.

Yours sincerely
Sindhushree Khullar

Read the Sports Secretary Sinshushree Khullar's letter to Suresh Kalmadi here!

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A Correspondent in New Delhi

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