Indian gov't reviews Commonwealth Games report

AP News
Posted: Apr 01, 2011 6:48 AM
Indian gov't reviews Commonwealth Games report

India's government is reviewing a report on last year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi that says organizers spent hundreds of millions of dollars more than needed, the prime minister said Friday.

The report, commissioned by the government amid an uproar over alleged corruption, says delays, administrative inefficiency and wasteful spending cost the government $355 million.

It says Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and the games' organizing committee were responsible because of insufficient oversight.

The report was submitted this week by a two-person committee headed by former government auditor V.K. Shunglu. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said several ministries were reviewing the findings, including its recommendation of an official investigation. The commission itself is only exploratory, and has no power to file charges or order investigations.

India had hoped the Commonwealth Games would project the country as a rising superpower, but instead was deeply embarrassed by corruption allegations, construction delays and cost overruns as the budget ballooned to 700 billion rupees ($15 billion) from the estimated 18.9 billion rupees ($412 million).

Dikshit has dismissed the committee's report, saying the accusations against her were defamatory and "mischievous."

A Switzerland-based company contracted to advise on event planning, work force support and development of sports venues also disputed the report's conclusions. Event Knowledge Services said the committee never made any attempt to contact it for information, but nevertheless made "unsubstantiated" implications of wrongdoing.

Company CEO Craig McLatchey said the report showed the committee lacked diligence in its investigation as well as a basic understanding of how event planning works.

"Its conclusions are based on suppositions that are not supported by fact. We reject it completely," he said.

EKS plans to submit a response to the government within days "to clear up the fact and logic gaps" in the report, McLatchey said.