Cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar to oversee CWG preparations

     Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar has been asked to oversee the preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. According to sources, Suresh Kalmadi will stay on as chairman of the Organising Committee. The Centre is reluctant to take action against Kalmadi until the charges against him are proved. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will discuss the Commonwealth Games issue during a core group meeting today. The party's top decision-making body has been forced to closely scrutinise the preparations for the Commonwealth Games. Party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters, "We do not hold any brief... Kalmadi is not there [Indian Olympic Association] as a member of Congress... the actions of Kalmadi as president of an autonomous body are not connected with the party in any way." Congress leader and National Games Organising Committee Chairman R K Anand has accused Kalmadi of favouring a particular private firm and directing National Games organisers to buy video screens at prices which are four times higher than their actual price. These revelations have brought Kalmadi and Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Mike Fennel under the scanner. Meanwhile, Director General of Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CGOC) V K Verma contended that the collective responsibilities of the Suresh Kalmadi-led Executive Board could not be brushed aside. He further blamed two suspended top functionaries, Joint Director General T S Darbari and Deputy Director General Sanjay Mohindroo for the entire alleged money trail during the Queen's Baton Relay launch in London. Meanwhile, Lalit Bhanot, Secretary General of Commonwealth Games Organising Committee said that the task has been given to the company Fast Track after terminating the Melbourne-based Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM). He noted that SMAM had not kept up the obligation and above all Fast Track was more experienced and competent. Bhanot further added that the company Fast Track had actually doubled their profits. The CAG in a report projecting a loss of 24.6 million rupees said that while choosing the consultant for the broadcasting rights for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, Fast Track Sales Ltd, there was no technical evaluation of the bidders. The Central Vigilance Commission had alleged irregularities in several Commonwealth Games related-works being carried out by civic and construction agencies.

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