CAG teams camped at the CWG Organising Committee (OC) office
October, 30th 2010
CAG teams camped at the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) office are engaged in an extraordinary task. They are asking for every file from all 33 "functional areas" of the OC that relates to any expenditure incurred right down to the smallest bill or invoice.
In a clear indication that investigative agencies intend to do a thorough job of probing the OC and related augean stables, the CAG teams are conducting an "100% audit" instead of the more usual 10%-15% scanning apart from focussing on controversial contracts or projects.
Armed with a list of contracts, CAG officials are poring over files, proposals, tenders and billing in a sub-itemised manner seeking clarifications from officials on authorisations and procedures. They are also looking at whether the most economical bids and services were procured and if there were exceptions were the reasons strong enough.
Occupying rooms within the OC office in central Delhi has also given these teams a vantage view of the mismanagement that has marked the committee's functioning, said sources who pointed out that some of the floors were lined with material delivered late or simply unused.
The decisions cleared by the executive board and executive management committee would be under closer scrutiny as these often involved big ticket items and the clearances were granted by senior OC bosses like Suresh Kalmadi, Lalit Bhanot and R K Sacheti. It has been repeatedly alleged that tendering was delayed and terms managed in a manner to favour a small set of suppliers.
The CAG teams are examining whether objections to expenditures were overruled and also at actions that resulted in savings. Some officials have argued that losses could have been higher if some budgets had not been whittled due to the resistance of some officers who did not follow "instructions" from the OC bosses. The managers for the opening and closing ceremonies had initially proposed a Rs-550 crore budget while the group of ministers finally sanctioned Rs 300 crore.
With CAG teams asking for the smallest expenditures incurred, there is a sense of concern over payments being currently cleared. Striking a cautious note, officials are carefully scrutinising completion certficates before
issuing payments that are in the clear. Similarly, questionable deals have run into trouble with even firms with patrons in the OC awaiting their payments.
Their apprehension is well founded as CAG teams are looking at project execution, plans abandoned mid-way and the financial processes by which decisions that smacked of inefficiency, resulting in what are seen to be huge losses.