While the world had an eye on India, several concerns over the preparations and
administration were raised.
These included budget overruns, bridges falling
apart, roads dug out, delays in construction and infrastructural compromises of
the CWG Game Village, prominent athletes pulling out. Shivaji Stadium, which was
allotted for some events been removed as a venue due to poor speed of
The preparations that had to be finished two years prior to the
Games weren't over till even a month before. The inadequacy of preparations
and pilferage of funds resulted in the development of India's the biggest scams-
The CWG Scam 2010.
Corruption And Irregularities
The scam contributed a pilferage of an astounding 70,000 crores for the
Government. The twelve day mega event in Delhi involved a series of corrupt
practices and transactions. There was a serious miscarriage of responsibility
and ethics from the administration. This included the administration choosing
inflammatory rates of contracts and disqualifying companies offering better
deals for inexplicable purposes.
Head officials of the CWG and the architects of
the scam such as Suresh Kalmadi, Lalit Bhanot, Anil Kumar Khanna were indicted
by the CBI for varying levels of corruption such as forgery, criminal conspiracy
and corruption. This gross miscarriage of office resulted in worldwide
embarrassment for the nation.
The day the games got concluded, a massive uproar in the public and in the
political sphere forced the government to designate a special committee under Mr
V.K Shunglu and other state agencies like CBI, Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Enforcement
Directorate to investigate the administration and governance of the Commonwealth
Games. "A total of 53 corruption cases were being examined by the CVC. While,
13 were referred to CBI for further investigation and 12 were closed.
V.K Shunglu Committee Report
Some of the key finding from over five reports, which looks into organising and
conduct of CWG-2010 are as under:
The Host City Contract was acceded without due reflection. It was based
on a false pretext which was 'revenue neutrality'. A proposed amount of Rs
30,000 crores were duly secured from the Government between 2003-2010. The
process of securing the amount even continued at a position where it became
clear that the games would be financial burden on the State.
Once, the CWG bid was accepted a period of seven year was available for
the preparation of the games. Under the report it is highlighted that three
years were wasted on peripheral activities while only in the last four years
preparation activities picked up.
Lack of a budgetary ceiling resulted in an increase in expenditure and
it was unclear whether Ministry of Youth Affairs Sports possessed the
authority to facilitate the activities and restrain the entities governing CWG games.
The role assigned by the CWG President, CGF & CEO was rather arbitral
and not conductive to proper management.
The decision to conduct the games through a private not for profit
society was deemed as an 'error of judgement' in the report.
The Governance mechanism to oversight the CWG became a mammoth overtask
and the facility function task was often abused by entities it was meant to
The report also highlights that the Group of Ministries (GOM) during
2005-2009 were rather supportive of the functions of the Organising Committee (OC)
and in certain matters the Group of Ministry often over looked activities of the
OC which belonged under the GOM ambit.
Project were delayed and completed under their own time frame. The GOM
did not seem to intervene though it's chairman was the Minister for Urban
The issue raised by the Shunglu Committee reflect the callous attitude of the
state that surely paved role for the development of the scam. As it can be
reflected that a window of seven years was provided for the preparation of the
2010 games, and in this time frame it was only the last few years where
authorities really paced things up, which naturally led to various emergency
decisions compromising cost & quality.
I feel the delay in the project which was
a consequence of poor administrative functioning was chiefly the integral reason
for corruptive practices since a vast amount of projects were completed in the
penultimate stages, it became very difficult to maintain parallel checks and
balances with the OC.
At a point of time the priority of GOM just became timely
completion of projects to avoid global humiliation, and this is where the heads
of the OC took advantages. A lack of budget and a ceiling cap aided the cause,
highlighting the irresponsibility on the Indian government shamelessly wasting
the hard-earned money through poor planning and administration.
It can be
reflected that almost every contract in the CWG from toilet papers to
constructional costs were all approved exorbitant costs by misleading or
compromising the approving authorities. Incorrect reporting and lack of
coordination also became a standard practice as reflected in the Shunglu
Committee report .
Whether there was an abuse of discretion on the part of the Organising Committee
while managing the affairs of the Common wealth games?
CWG Scam: Leading Case on Instances of Corruption
Time Scoring Result (TSR) Case: Contract awarded before applied.
The general rule for awarding contracts involved the practice of biding. Where
authorities invite bids in form of tenders, and companies fairly are allowed to
make a bid in lieu of which the most rewarding and appropriate bid is chosen. In
the current case, the TSR bid was arbitrarily awarded to Swiss Timing at
exorbitant rates contrary to a reputed Spanish company (ML Spain) which costed less
than half quoted by Swiss timings.
ML Spain was "fraudulently disqualified" at
the pre-qualification stage leading to a "single tender situation". Since there
was a single tender the members of the Organising Committee and Swiss Timing
increased the bid at 1500 million, where the difference in the money was
conveniently misappropriated by Mr. Kalmadi and his allies. Most importantly,
they the bid was given to Swiss Timing a month before they even opened the
bidding to others, essentially, quashing all other legitimate bids. Suresh
Kalmadi the organising committee chief was convicted under Section 120 B and
420 of the Indian Penal Code for conspiring with the entities of Swiss
Irregularities in the Organisation Committee
The internal functioning of the Organising Committee especially the internal
decision making and appointment of officials has been questionable. It has been
showcased through the 'Public Accounts Committee report in its XIX Commonwealth
report', that a clear nexus of abuse of discretionary powers has been conferred
on the organising members.
For instance, the OC breached its duty to act in
public interest by formulating an internal committee subjected degrees of
biasness, contrary to the rules formulated by the government. It can be observed
that the joint directors RK Sancheti and NP Singh were close aids of Mr. Kalmadi
who were arbitrarily appointed him without any reasoning or mandated
qualifications . Whereas, the secretary general Mr. Lalit Bhanot was often known
as Mr. Kalmadi's right hand man played a pivotal role in the TSR scam case. Mr
Lalit Bhanot further appointed his sons and sisters as paid consultants to the
mega project without the applicable requisites.
Apart from the internal
composition the OC, also irregularly rewarded sensitive contracts at exorbitant
rates in an arbitrary fashion. The other irregularity of the internal committee
could be highlighted under the documentation of the OC. There existed several
deficiencies in the payment processes as there were over payments, payment
without approved contracts an payments in foreign currencies for Indian
The OC members inapplicably bypassed all procedures for safeguards
for instance vetting of documents or taking legal advice. This led in an
exposure of a lot of tax liabilities on the government only because of the
ignorance of OC members towards their duties.
These events highlight the corrupt practices adopted by the OC. The head
members, on numerous occasions as mentioned did not heed to the procedure laid
by government agencies and therefore their actions were ultra vires to the
instruction so provided. The fact that the head members of the OC were chosen on
account of their governmental experiences, which provided a reasonable
expectation of fairness and trustworthiness.
However to the contrary their
action by the facts were against the equitable doctrine; where the government
legitimately expects the organising body to adhere to the procedural instruction
As reported earlier several contracts of the Commonwealth Games 2010 were
inflated at enormous rates. The audit committee reports highlight that the
president of the CWG, Suresh Kalmadi used "shadowy off-shore firms, forged
emails, inexplicable payments to bogus companies and inflated bills � for every
purchase of item." The Auditors further claim that the OC not only deeply
flawed and biased but was selective in awarding contracts to manufacturers and
retailers for sporting goods and services.
The Comptroller and Auditor General report asserted that the admirative
authorities inflated the penultimate costs of the games to sixteen times to that
which was originally proposed. The powers so, deemed by the administrative
authority were not under the limits and hence could be called as "abuse of
Similar to the TSR case an another example of over-invoicing can be reflected in
the tender for the supply of VIP chairs and media chairs required for five
destinations. CAG, in its report found out that while tender was issued to
Superior Furniture, other bids were disqualified on unreasonable grounds. The
report also showcased that many furniture items were recalculated and inflated
that created an extra expenditure of Rs3.66 crores.
Apart from awarding tender arbitrarily, on several accounts the authorities also
deliberately inflated the costing rates and area specifications to increase the
costing rate. This can be seen, in a horticulture contracts where the area of
work was 10432 sqms however the same was increased to 15000 sqms, which
escalated the cost. The report by the CAG report proves the OC and
administrative authority had mala fide intention and motives to inflate the
invoices and prices to misappropriate the money of hardworking taxpayers.
The Thayagaraj stadium case is an instrumental and key instant of proving
personal gains of the authority. While, the standard practice of perusing
constructional tenders is under the compliance of Delhi Schedule of Rates the
rate of tendering in the case of Thayagaraj stadium was not pursued only. The
CAG found numerous items been inflated of costs without detailed invoices or
estimates. It also highlighted that on number of occasions items with higher
costs were selected again with no reasonable justification for forgoing the
lower rate items.
Thus, from all these similar cases, It can primarily be said that the statutory
power exercised by the administrative authorities in CWG were beyond the ambit
of the powers granted to them by legislation. Therefore, it can be concluded
that the administration had an improper purpose and malafide intentions, where
they abused the broad discretionary power given to the them.
While, in a subsequent case at the Delhi High Court, perhaps changed the
dynamics of the CWG case. It held that organising committee comes under the
scope of Right to Information though not coming under the definition of Article
12 of the Indian Constitution. The High Court ruled that since it was the state
which provided funds to finance the activities to the organising committee,
therefore it was subjected to RTI.
This proved to be a milestone and boost to expose the CWG scam. It can also be
evident that the Commonwealth Scam unlike other scams was a culmination of
several scams ranging from toilet papers to infrastructural projects.
This multiple level of scam at such a high level depicts the administrative
failures by the Indian Government. This scam not only shamed India at a global
level but also saw the hard earned money of tax payers go into the drain. This
makes me conclude that apart from litigation there surely arises a need for an
effective redressal mechanism for every small administrative failure to ensure
the natural principals of justice.
Ayush Verma, Commonwealth Games scam � a legal timeline,
CWG: Probe panel to report in 3 months. The Times of India. 16 October
CVC "Okays Closure of 12 CWG Graft Related Cases". The Outlook India.
XIX Commonwealth Games, 2010,Public Account Committee Seventy fourth
Outlook India: 'CBI Chargesheet in One More CWG Scam Case', August,