The high-level V K Shunglu committee appointed by the prime minister to probe irregularities and alleged misappropriation of funds in the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2010 has hired chartered accountants of Suresh Kalmadi-led Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to help find wrongdoings in the conduct of the Games.
Dinesh Mehta & Co have been auditors of IOA, widely seen as Kalmadi's personal fief for the control that he exercises. The choice of the very same auditor to scrutinize Games expenses allegedly fudged and exaggerated by the Kalmadi-led CWG Organizing Committee has raised hackles.
"We have some 50 people assisting us, and staff drawn from Dinesh Mehta & Co would be roughly 5-6%," defended Shunglu. Brushing aside a potential conflict of interest, he said: "What is the news value of this information? I am not embarrassed. Go ahead and do the story."
The engagement of Dinesh Mehta & Co comes at a time when CBI looks set to investigate Kalmadi regarding the several Games scams perpetrated on his watch. Three of his associates have been arrested and indications are that CBI would soon like to have a session with Kalmadi himself. Meanwhile, the two teams of CAs of Delhi-based Dinesh Mehta & Co have started their work on the CWG probe from December 3.
Hiren Mehta, a partner in Dinesh Mehta & Co, told TOI that CA firms always operated on confidentiality. He cited the example of Chaturvedi & Shah, another CA firm which assisted both Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd and Anil Ambani-led ADAG group even when the two brothers were not on good terms.
Mehta has offered to provide two teams of two CAs and one audit assistant each.
Mehta's firm will assist the Shunglu committee in preparing and furnishing a documented report to the government on its findings and observations after probing the allegations of irregularities.