Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MTNL Set To Make Rs. 150 Cr From Commonwealth Games; TCIL Rs. 85 Cr

Government owned entities Mahanager Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd. (TCIL) will be paid at least Rs. 235.55 crore for digital services and equipment provided at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, according to a statement filed in the Lok Sabha: MTNL will be paid Rs. 150 crore to set up the Games Data Network (GDN) for Games Applications, Voice & Multimedia, Security Data Network (SDN) for CCTV/Video Surveillance, and Broadcast Network (BN) for High Definition Broadcast. It will receive Rs. 182 crore from Ministry of Sports on a “wet lease” basis, Rs. 30 crore from Ministry of Home Affairs for uses of security data network and Rs. 73 crore from Organising Committee for using data and various other services. MTNL is going to provide communication facilities in 48 sites in the city.

Some rates being charged by MTNL, via this rate card:

- $30 for a SIM card (with $20 balance), GSM handset at $52.
-  $643 for an ADSL broadband connection at 2mbps download, 512kbps upload speed. Single port ADSL modem at $42
- $125 for Wireless Internet Service (144kbps) with unlimited usage. (ED: what a rip-off: not even MTNL 3G at the games? what good is unlimited use at 144kbps?)
Additionally, there are two ISDN connections available – $700 for basic rate, and $4550 for Primary rate. Rates have not been specified yet.

MTNL reported revenues of Rs. 971.6 crore for the quarter ending June 30th 2010, and a net loss of Rs. 450.7 crore.

Additionally, TCIL has been awarded following projects to be executed for CWG on cost plus basis:
1. Supply, installation, Testing & Commissioning of Complete Voice over IP (VoIP) Telephony Solution at Games Head Quarter (NDCC Building)- (Project Estimate Value Rs. 1.48 crore).
2. Supply & Operational Support for Network Equipment (estimated Rs. 34.29 crore)
3. Supply of Computer Hardware (estimated Rs. 6.75 Crore)
4. Supply, Installation, Testing & commissioning of Outdoor Data Cabinets (estimated Rs. 7.6 crore)
5. Cable Access TV Services (estimated Rs. 1.38 crore)
6. Supply, Installation & Commissioning of Office Automation Equipment (estimated Rs. 17.61 crore)
7. Supply, Installation & Commissioning of Audio Visual Equipment (estimated Rs. 5.19 crore)
8. Passive Network Cabling at different venues and Stadiums (estimated Rs. 11.25 crore)

The cost to the user appears to be significantly higher than normal, though: According to this rate card published at the CWG website http://www.cwgdelhi2010.org/.

Ten confident Delhi is ready for Commonwealth Games

Network Ten are confident that Delhi will be ready for the opening of the Commonwealth Games in October despite media reports suggesting venues are way behind schedule.

Both Indian and international media coverage is questioning whether the venues for the Games will be completed in time for the October 3 opening ceremony with further reports suggesting corruption is rife and the quality of the construction is questionable.

Ten’s general manager of sport David White said that while there is some basis to the claims, the major stadiums are finished.

“These are going to be great Games,” White says. “There’s a lot of good news that doesn’t get reported.”

“The Indian way, as they say, is not to put the marquee up until the bride comes round the corner and we’ve experienced that,” he says.

White also addressed concerns over the security of both athletes and spectators in Delhi.

“As far as security goes, I have no concerns. The Indians have taken every precaution, as has the Australian government.”

Ten has Coles, AAMI, Hungry Jacks and Commonwealth Bank on board as sponsors of their games’ coverage, which will be split in Australia between Ten and Foxtel.

Firm got more than sponsorship it brought

CYG : SMAM was paid Rs 2.68 crore for bringing in sponsorship of Rs 2.11 crore, says report

The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee which has terminated its contract with Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM) over alleged non-performance and inability to deliver sponsorship targets, states it did not pay a single rupee to the Australian company.

But SMAM, which had also been hired for bringing in sponsorship for the 2008 Pune Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG), the precursor to the Commonwealth Games, appears to have earned more commission than sponsorship it had raked in.

According to the interim inspection report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), during the Pune CYG, the OC received a total sponsorship of Rs 19.99 crore. Of this, public sector undertakings (PSUs) contributed Rs 17.88 crore or 89.45 per cent.

t was only the remaining sponsorship of Rs 2.11 crore that SMAM finally generated for CYG, but for that, the company was paid a commission of Rs 2.68 crore.

Though OC Secretary General Lalit Bhanot had earlier stated in New Delhi that no money was paid to SMAM, when contacted by The Indian Express on Tuesday, he conceded “a small amount was paid to the company” during CYG as per the contract.

He, however, refrained from confirming the amount, stating he did not have the requisite papers with him.

According to the contract, the company was to be paid a commission of 15 per cent of the total sponsorship it brought in. However, the sponsorship came mainly from PSUs like the Bank of Maharashtra, BSNL, HPCL and SAIL with the exception of Coca Cola which was the sole private sponsor.

Incidentally, the Finance Ministry decrees that no commission be paid for any contribution made by a public sector to any organization. The CAG is now apparently investigating why the OC signed up again with a firm that had failed to bring in sponsorship during the Pune games.

CYG merchandise worth Rs 24.5 lakh idle
The audit report prepared for the financial year ended March 31, 2009 by the Office of the Director General of Audit, Central Revenues, has noted that merchandising products of CYG-Pune 2008, costing Rs 124.04 lakh, were distributed but products costing Rs 24.55 lakh were left as idle stock, which had no resale value. “I believe later some part of this was auctioned to cover the loss,” added Anil Sharma of A Sharma and Co. the Delhi-based chartered accountants that conducted the audit.

Also listing under irregularities, the report states that Rs 2.02 crore was spent on sponsorship “which was out of the scope of sponsorship agreements” and an expenditure of Rs 52.83 lakh was made on hiking pay and allowances of employees of CYG, Pune.

CWG corruption plot gets murkier

An investigation by a news channel has revealed a web of ownership details of firms awarded contracts by the Organising Committee of the Delhi Games that point to conflicts of interest. The channel, NDTV, revealed evidence linking Australia-based company, Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM) to
Consortium of Event Knowledge Services (EKS) and Craig McLatchey, a member of the Commonwealth Games Coordination Committee (Cocomm) who attended all meetings of the Cocomm till May 2009. Mclatchey has ownership links to both SMAM and EKS.

Reacting to the news, Mclatchey told the channel, “It’s a vicious campaign against me. It’s based on innuendo and a smear campaign of misreporting. It appears there are people with reason to cause us harm.”

According to the channel, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) awarded a Rs. 29 crore contract to EKS for providing consultancy on the Games. The interim report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) termed this as an undue favour by the OC.

The report goes on to say that the OC did not follow proper procedure in choosing the Consortium of EKS and Ernst and Young as consultants. According to the CAG report, there was insufficient competition for selection of consultant with no comparable financial bid.

Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Mike Hooper spoke to HT and said, “There is absolutely nothing in this. The potential conflict of interest was declared and acknowledged, and the OC awarded the contract after following the laid down procedure. They awarded the contract after deciding that EKS was the best option for the job.”

SMAM’s services were terminated last month by the OC on grounds of ‘non-performance’. The company reacted strongly to the termination, saying, the OC had “wrongfully, viciously, terminated the agreement”. Hooper had previously backed SMAM, even after the company was sacked.

No worries, CWG will be a success: IOC chief

IOC president Jacques Rogge predicted Tuesday that the Commonwealth Games in India will be a success, despite preparations being overshadowed by corruption allegations and delays in venues being completed. Things have become so bad in India that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appointed a new group
of ministers to oversee preparations, visit venues each week to monitor progress and ensure contractors meet fresh deadlines.

The ministers were meeting in New Delhi on Sunday to plan how to hasten lagging preparations for the events beginning October 3 in the Indian capital.

Rogge, however, blamed much of the problems on “pessimistic media” and said he the Commonwealth Games will showcase India’s ability to host big sporting events.

“I’m optimistic in spite of everything written by pessimist media for the Commonwealth Games,” Rogge told The Associated Press.

“They will show the capacity of India to organize great games.”

NZ official refuses to commit to CWG

Wellington: In a development which has the potential to land a body blow to the controversy-marred Delhi Commonwealth Games, a top New Zealand official has refused to commit participation of Kiwi athletes till their safety concerns are addressed next month.

New Zealand Federation of Athletes chief Rob Nichol said that “hand on heart” he could not say whether his country would send a team in the Commonwealth Games. “The biggest mistake we can make right now is forcing ourselves into a position where we have to make a decision,” Nichol said.

Wallaby Turner joins Aussie quest for  gold

Melbourne: Wallaby winger Lachie Turner has been included in Australia’s rugby sevens squad for October’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi, where they will be looking to win gold for the first time.

The Waratahs flyer is one of two Wallabies to be included in the 12-man squad for the Oct. 3-14 Games in India alongside utility back Luke Morahan, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) announced on Tuesday.

Australia will be seeking a first medal since the bronze they won in the sport’s debut at the quadrennial Games in 1998.

Narang to participate

New Delhi: India’s ace rifle shooter Gagan Narang said Tuesday that he would participate in the Commonwealth Games here from Oct 3-14. Earlier this month Narang, who was overlooked for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna for the third consecutive time, felt he was demotivated and didn’t want to take part in the Games.

But Narang, who won the bronze at the World Championship in Munich, said that the overwhelming response from well-wishers, family and the shooting fraternity has moved him.

Safety the primary concern for CGF

Safety, as reported by HT 10 days ago, will be the primary concern of Commonwealth Games Federation when its president arrives here for his two-day visit on Wednesday. The CGF chief, Mike Fennell, during an exclusive interview with HT, had asked the Games Organising Committee to provide fitness
certificates from each of the agencies involved in the preparation of the stadiums — which are primarily, the central public works department, the state public works department, the Delhi Development Authority and the Sports Authority of India.

On Tuesday, CGF chief executive officer Mike Hooper reiterated the concern and said the OC should be ready with the relevant certificates regarding health, fire and safety. "Safety of our athletes is the primary concern," said Hooper. "We need the certifications so that we can reassure our member countries that everything is alright and there is nothing to worry about."

According to CGF, the two days will be spent inspecting the venues and meeting all the officials who have been entrusted with the job of conducting a smooth Games. The CGF, however, said that they would need a concrete answer from the OC and the other agencies as to whether the stadiums would be 'fit for purpose'.

The OC said it was ready to take Fennell to all the stadiums. Lalit Bhanot, the secretary general and the spokesperson of the OC on Tuesday said, "He will see for himself and let him decide. We are ready with everything. Let him assess things as he sees them." As for the certifications, Bhanot said, "we have got them and if there is something missing somewhere that too will be fixed."

Games, lies and videotape

'Delhi is fully prepared for the Commonwealth Games': The state government will leave no stone unturned to sell you this line. Never mind broken roads and flooded stadia — the proof before your eyes — Delhi is ready because CM Sheila Dikshit's on tape giving Games preparedness both thumbs

Delhi government's Games publicity campaign has moved beyond the giant banners of the now-malnutritioned Shera. So next time you are at your nearest movie theatre, do not be surprised to find Dikshit on the big screen making bigger promises of a successful Games. A promotional video that is to be screened during movie intervals, will  feature Delhiites, a few top Indian athletes, the CM and — yes — unfinished projects.

According to Delhi Government sources, the CM is set to launch one of these videos next week.

"The video features Delhiites and the theme is 'Dilli Meri Jaan'. This video will be launched by the CM and then would be played on the television as well as in theatres during intervals," said a senior official in the Delhi Government.

A preview of sorts was screened on Independence.

"As it was Independence Day we wanted people to watch the video. So we distributed it at a select few movie theatres all over the city so that people could get a first hand feel of it. But officially it is yet to be launched," added the official.

The video however does not seem to have gone down well.

"I saw it at a theatre in Saket. A bunch of people dance without any rhythm or choreography. How can they assure that the Games would be conducted smoothly when none of the work is complete?" said Rateesh Dangwal, an MBA aspirant.

With nothing concrete to show in the name of completed projects, all the video features is some unfinished roads, a few athletes like wrestler Sushil Kumar and boxer Vijender Singh, Delhi cops and locals dancing in front of India Gate.

"The main idea of the video is to instill confidence among people that the Games would happen smoothly come what may."

Archers beware, say no to your poison or face the music

If you thought breath analysers were only meant for catching drunk drivers, think again. And if you thought alcohol could never be a performance-enhancer for sportspersons, you are horribly wrong! For the first time during the Delhi Commonwealth Games, besides inebriated motorists, archers will be
tested for alcohol through a breath analyser.

According to World Anti-Doping Agency, archers are a select few who are banned from drinking because alcohol is considered a performance-enhancer in their sport. The permissible limit for archers is 0.10gm per litre compared to .35g per litre for motorists.

"We have acquired breath analysers and will use them to detect offenders in archery," explained Munish Chander, deputy director general, doping control with the CWG Organising Committee. "Alcohol in desired quantities helps archers to steady nerves and improve levels of concentration. It is banned internationally."

Cjander adds, "This is for the first time that archers will go through such a test on Indian soil," said Chander.

Indian archers, however, said they never had to depend on alcohol to steady their hands. According to national coach Limba Ram, alcohol does not help archers boost their performance. "I have heard players abroad take limited doses of alcohol on advice of their coaches to help soothe their nerves. But it doesn't happen in India."

"During competition an archer has to draw and watch the flag to know when the wind has stopped and release at that particular moment. I don't think someone who's taken alcohol would be in a position to synchronise that," said Limba Ram.

As for the collection of samples (urine and blood), it will start from the day the Games Village opens to, September 23.

Gagan Narang to participate in Commonwealth Games

India’s ace rifle shooter Gagan Narang said Tuesday that he would participate in the Commonwealth Games here from Oct 3-14.

Earlier this month Narang, who was overlooked for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna for the third consecutive time, felt he was demotivated and didn’t want to take part in the Games.

But Narang, who won the bronze at the World Championship in Munich, said that the overwhelming response from well-wishers, family and the shooting fraternity has moved him.

‘I have made up my mind to shoot in the coming Commonwealth Games. There is no short of motivation when you see so many people support you and they want you to succeed. Doesn’t matter now if I did not get the award. It is a story of the past for me. I shall start training for the games shortly,’ Gagan said in a statement issued by indianshooting.com.

‘I was on a break after coming back from Munich, in this period I consulted my family, my coaches and the federation for my future course of actions. The only answer I got from all of them was shoot to prove a point. Although my achievements of the last four years have been ignored, I have decided to just keep doing my job from now on, which is to win medals and glory for India,’ he said.

‘I feel winning a medal for my county is even bigger than any award. If the government feels I deserve any award in future I will get it but from now on I would never expect it or will even talk about it,’ Gagan said.

Commonwealth Games chief to revisit Delhi venues

Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell starts a two-day inspection visit Wednesday amid admissions from organizers that venues still don't have safety certificates, and simmering corruption allegations that are overshadowing the New Delhi Games.

Fennell will inspect venues, some of which are still under construction, and get the latest updates on preparations from organizers of the Oct. 3-14 event, while also meeting government officials to get assurances on security and logistics issues.

Organizing committee vice-chairman Randhir Singh said the competition arenas are ready.

"We have things under control … Whatever little needs to be done, will be completed by Aug. 25," said Singh, who is also secretary general of the Indian Olympic Association and the Olympic Council of Asia.

He wasn't so confident about all of the facilities.

"There are concerns about completion of some practice venues. Also, we have not yet received the safety certificates for all venues," he admitted.

Fennell, who had expressed satisfaction about the level of preparations on a visit in March, may not be as encouraged with less than 50 days to the opening ceremonies.

"The corruption charges are a major concern," Fennell said ahead of the visit. "The organizing committee has to secure a report on progress of venues as well as fitness, fire, health and safety from government departments."

Fennell is putting the onus on the Games organizers after they repeatedly blamed government departments for delays in handing over venues.

The organizing committee, led by Suresh Kalmadi, has been bombarded with allegations over the past few weeks involving the excessive cost of purchasing equipment, issuing contracts without following due process and the departure of some key partners.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently intervened, appointing a group of ministers to oversee preparations, visit venues each week to monitor progress and ensure contractors meet fresh deadlines.

He also launched investigations into allegations of wrongdoing, saying: "All those found guilty should face severe and exemplary punishment."

His actions came in the wake of two top Indian officials being fired amid corruption allegations relating to contracts awarded in London for the launch of the Queen's Baton Relay.

The Indian media has also reported on the exorbitant costs of purchasing treadmills, refrigerators and identity cards following recent audits. Premium Brands, the official merchandizing company for the Games, cited frustration at the slow progress of planning for pulling out of its contract to supply items, including souvenir shirts and caps.

"We have decided to withdraw as the project has got delayed too much," the company's chairman, Suresh Kumar, said last week. "We will never come forward to partner the Indian Olympic Association again."

While Fennell will come seeking a lot of answers from organizers, the Indian government will have questions for him.

Indian Sports Minister M.S. Gill has called for Fennell to bring star athletes, rather than masses of administrators and staff from national teams.

"I request Mr. Fennell to bring stars and not thousands of officials, because it is the stars that people want to see," Gill said in the wake of the withdrawals by Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and Scottish cyclist Chris Hoy.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has predicted the Commonwealth Games will be a success, despite all the problems in advance.

"I'm optimistic, in spite of everything written by pessimist media, for the Commonwealth Games," Rogge told The Associated Press in an interview on the sidelines of the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. "They will show the capacity of India to organize great Games."

Former CWG official claims Rs 22.8 lakh refund

Suspended Commonwealth Games  Organising Committee deputy director general Sanjay Mohindroo is in for more trouble. CNN-IBN has accessed an important Organising Committee note questioning Mohindroo's claims of Rs 22.8 lakh as reimbursements.

An advance of £ 127,930.40 was given to Mohindroo for managing the London leg of the Queen's Baton Relay but Mohindroo showed expenditure of £ 160,526.90 and claimed the difference of Rs 22.8 lakh as reimbursements.

But Organising Committee Accounts Director has questioned Mohindroo's claims.

"A statement is required to be prepared regarding amount sanctioned and expenditure of Mr Mohindroo. Does it mean that he spent an amount of Rs 22.80 lakh out of his own funds in UK?" the director asked.

CNN-IBN asks: How did Mohindroo spend Rs 22.8 lakh from his own pocket in a foreign land? Was AM Films awarded contract by Mohindroo to get inflated bills to justify his reimbursement claims?

Mohindroo was sacked from the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and has already been questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for alleged financial irregularities.

Mohindroo was suspended and then removed from the Organising Committee along with joint director generals TS Darbari and M Jeyachandran after a committee submitted its report on charges of corruption during the Queen's Baton Relay launch in London in October 2009.

Jai hold! Games song delayed for 'tweaking'

VENUES are not the only thing running late for the Delhi Commonwealth Games. Now the theme song has been delayed.

Slumdog Millionaire composer A. R. Rahman flew into Delhi for a news conference about the keenly awaited jingle yesterday but could sing only the first line: ''Oh yaaro, India bula liya'' (''Friends we have called you to India'').

''I can't give you much because we are still in progress,'' Rahman said.

The song has been approved "in principle" by a group of ministers overseeing the games but Rahman declined to release it at Monday's press conference. "The committee has approved it but we want to release it 10 days later. We are tweaking it a little to make it even more exciting," Rahman said.

But Indian TV channels described the song's delay as ''more embarrassment'' for organisers who have been plagued by unfinished venues, reports of shoddy building work and allegations of corruption.

The group of ministers is understood to have discussed the song at a three-hour meeting on Sunday. The Indian Express quoted a highly placed source saying that ''ego hassles'' within the group had contributed to the delayed release.

Rahman, who won two Oscars for Slumdog Millionaire, including best original song for Jai Ho!, will perform the Games song called Swagatham - meaning ''Welcome'' - at the opening ceremony on October 3.

Alleged CWG scam: Who is Craig McLatchey, did he get business favours?

The allegations of mammoth corruption in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games are steadily scaling up to some of the senior-most men involved with organizing the event.  And they aren't all Indian.

First, an interim audit report suggested that expensive contracts had been awarded indiscriminately by Suresh Kalmadi, Chairman of the Organising Committee, Mike Fennell, the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation and Mike Hooper, CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Now, NDTV has unraveled a complicated trail of ownership that shows it   special favour sand contracts might have been given to man named Craig McLatchey, who was, till recently, a member of the Commonwealth Games Coordination Commission.

Originally from Australia, McLatchey is a resident of Switzerland, and is the sole owner of Event Knowledge Service (EKS), a company hired for 29 crores as a technical consultant for the Games, in partnership with financial consultants Ernst and Young. EKS has in the past worked on the Sydney Olympics and the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. An interim report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India said the EKS deal was an example of "undue favours."

NDTV has accessed documents that show McLatchey is also a stake-holder in Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM), which, till recently, had a contract worth 230 crores to find sponsors and international advertisers for the Games.  SMAM was fired by Kalmadi earlier this month for "non-performance" - the Games have about 400 crores in sponsorship as against a target of more than 900 crores. Most of the sponsors are Indian Public Sector Units (PSUs) who made it clear that they would not be willing to foot the bill for any sort of commission for SMAM.

In a statement to NDTV, McLatchey has said that he had no connection with SMAM.  However, McLatchey owns 50 percent of Ithaca Private Limited, which in turn owns a super share or "F Class" stake in a firm named ERIS. Further down the food chain, ERIS owns 26 percent of SMAM Australia. McLatchey says his relationship with Bushell and SMAM is a personal one with no business dimension.

"On any occasion where EKS representatives, including me, have considered that there was a potential for conflict between the parties (not necessarily a conflict of interest) we have advised both parties and excluded ourselves from any proceedings or deliberations," said Craig McLatchey.

SMAM, head-quartered in Melbourne, is owned by Mike Bushell, acknowledged by McLatchey as a close friend.  McLatchey is a former chief executive of the Australian Olympic Committee, while Bushell has been the marketing agent for major sports events including the Sydney Olympics. 

The coordination commission was set up by the Commonwealth Games Federation, based in London, and headed by Mike Hooper.

McLatchey attended meetings of this Commission in Delhi till May 2009.  Then, for reasons not clear, he stepped down.

Mike Hooper, the Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Games Federation, told NDTV that McLatchey declared a conflict of interest before his EKS won a consulting contract for the Games.  He also said "due process" was followed.

Wonder how CWG OC slept for so long: Bishen Bedi

Amazed by the Delhi Commonwealth Games Organising Committee's laxity, spin legend Bishen Singh Bedi on Tuesday said the corruption allegations against it and the shoddy construction work at the venues have put paid to India's chances of hosting multi-sports events in near future.

Bedi said the CWG organisers have taken the country for a ride and a question mark hangs over whether Delhi can deliver a successful Games in October.

He, however, denied reports that he has asked other Commonwealth countries to boycott the Games.

"I have not said that other countries should boycott it.

Why should I say that but the allegations of corruption and the absolute lack of preparedness have caused a huge embarrassment to the country," he said.

"I can't say if India should not bid for mega events like the Asian Games or the Olympic Games but surely the whole chaos surrounding the CWG has seriously damaged the name of the country.

"The impact (of the controversies) is there to see. So many top athletes have pulled out of the Games. The organisers have taken the countrymen for a ride for their own vested interests," he said.

Bedi wondered how the organisers failed to complete the venues 45 days before the Games after getting the hosting rights seven years earlier.

"They got the Games in 2003 and I wonder how on earth they slept for so long. They started construction in 2009. In contrast, 2012 London Olympics organisers are well ahead of schedule," he said.

"Indians lack national discipline. Otherwise all these things would not have happened. You see the city is in chaos and more rain is expected in the coming days. I think Delhi is not a fit place to host mega sporting events till the civic chaos is addressed," said Bedi, who scalped 266 wickets from 67 Tests between 1967 and 1979.

Bedi also blamed the Commonwealth Games Federation for the whole mess, saying that the CGF top brass should have been more alert and pointed out the slippages strongly.

"The CGF officials should have taken stronger action.

They know that slippages have been there from the beginning. Now they have washed their hands off the situation. It has become very serious," he said.

Bedi ridiculed top Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi's plea that he was not aware of what his subordinates were doing even as corruption scandals rocked the Games.

"The top brass knew everything. Once the whole mud comes out they try to wash off their hands and engage in a blame game," said the legendary left-arm spinner.

He also said the creation of an empowered committee of secretaries by the government to oversee the preparations of the Games will not serve any purpose.

"For so long the government kept sleeping, what will the committee do now with only 45 days to go to the Games. It can only worsen the situation," he said.

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