Sunday, August 8, 2010

Kalmadi takes Mani Shanker Aiyer head on

Kalmadi takes Mani Shanker Aiyer head on

Unfazed with the barrage of accusations of corruption, Suresh Kalmadi said his conscious is clear. There is no direct charge of corruption against him. There is no question of quitting the games when it is so near. CVC has not pointed any finger on him. Now, he is only concentrating in order to organize the Commonwealth games successfully.

In a no hold-barred interview with Anurradha Prasad for her `Aamne -Saamne` show on News 24, Chief of Commonwealth organising committee said, “ I am ready to face any judicial inquiry to clear my name. i am really surprised that as to why there is such a campaign for the last one week against him,though everything was going nicely before that.” He also added, “ I would like to clear my name from all the charges before games. I would also like to clear name before my family and my constituency.”

Replaying to a direct barb regarding the involvement of his close aides of financial bung lings, Suresh Kalmadi said, “ Around two thousand people work under me. I do not know every body. I constituted an inquiry committee and suspended two officials when i came to know about their involvement in bungling.” He also completely denies that the suspended officials namely, TS Darbari and Sanjay Mahendroo were very close to him. This is not at all true. “ I even do not know Mahendroo at all.”

Taking the ten days deadline of Commonwealth Games federation president Mike Fennell to put the house in order rather lightly, the ex – fighter pilot of India Air force said, “ I am sure within next ten days everything (stadiums) would be completed.”

On a question related to incomplete infrastructures and stadiums where important events would suppose to take place, Kalmadi completely washed off his hands of taking the responsibility of their present condition. “ I am not involved in the construction related activities. Various agencies are looking after the construction of stadiums and other infrastructures. This question should be asked to them.”

He, however, made it clear that if there would be any problem in staging the games, then it would be a collective responsibility of organizing committee as well as all the agencies responsible for construction of stadias.

`But you are now face of the commonwealth games...?` Suresh Kalmadi said, “ I do not want to pass the buck. I take the responsibility of any corruption charge. I do not have sanctioning authority of even single paise.”

Taking his bete noire and party colleague Mani Shanker Aiyer head on, Kalmadi said, “ I do not want to comment against his utterances. He has lost the Lok Sabha elections and entered Parliament as a nominated member. Hence, I do not know whether he is in Congress or not.”

Did you talk to him? With contempt, he said, “ Yes, I did. When he was a sports minister i used to meet him. That two years as his minister of sports was the worst phase. He has been against the games since long. Even when he was minister of sports, he was against the games. After the games, I will meet him.”

Kalmadi revealed that he has been meeting both Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi. “ PM has given us Rs600 crores. That money is spent on providing training to our players. I am sure this time our players will win 70 medals and India would be in third position in medals tally.”

Making his position clear in respect of huge sum that has already been incurred on games related projects, Kalmadi said, he has so far received only Rs900 crores out of sanctioned Rs1600 crores. “We have already collected Rs700 crores as revenue from sponsorships,sale of tickets and TV rights. We were expecting Rs30 million from TV rights, but we got Rs50 million. BBC,Australia,South Africa have taken TV rights. US would also show the games. Three billion people across the world would watch the opening and closing ceremonies.”

So, will you return the Rs1600 crores to government? “ Yes, of course.” `But so far only three per cent tickets were sold ?` Kalmadi was hopeful that the sale of games tickets would pick in days to come.

Is it true that sponsors like Railways and NTPC are also worried as the corruption charges against the Organizing committee is becoming more and more frequent? Rather than replaying to the question, he said now he is only concentrating on the games.


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