CWG scam: CBI raids Kalmadi's premises

CWG scam: CBI raids Kalmadi's premises

Similar raids were conducted in New Delhi also. It is learnt that the raids on at least five locations in Pune or two locations in Mumbai have not yielded any significant recovery or seizure to nail the powerful sports administrator in the CWG scam.

Several teams of the CBI sleuths swooped down on Kalmadi’s house on Karve Road in Pune, another house at Baner near Pune, his farmhouse at Khadakwasla as well as business establishments known by the name Sai Services, which is one of the largest dealers of Maruti cars, and Sai petrol pump in the Deccan Gymkhana area in that city.

Kalmadi is from Pune and had won Lok Sabha elections from the cultural capital of Maharashtra.

Currently, he is the Congress Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra, although the party began distancing itself from him after the CWG by dropping him from the post of parliamentary party secretary.

The CBI regional office in Mumbai was tightlipped about the raids, which went on throughout the day ostebsibly to recover certain missing files relating to CWG purchases like treadmills and aircondioners at brazenly astronomical prices well above the prevailing market rates, and alleged commissions paid for signing supply contracts.

Documentary evidence

The CBI teams were also looking for documentary evidence related to the scandalous Queen’s baton relay held in London in July 2010 prior to CWG, money paid to A M Car and Films, a London-based firm, and doctoring of certain e-mails which originated from India’s high commission there.

 A CBI team also went into the 14th floor apartment of Bheema building at Worli in Central Mumbai belonging to Kalmadi, and occupied by his brother Mukesh. An office of Kalmadi at Phoenix Mills complex, too, was raided.

Curious public

One CBI team searched the residence of Kalmadi’s personal secretary Manoj Bhure in Pune. The raids began around 7:30 am and continued till late afternoon.

While Kalmadi was in Delhi, his wife Meera was in their Pune residence during the searches. Scores of onlookers thronged the narrow by-lane to have a glimpse of the CBI activity.

All doors and windows of the building were shut by the investigators and only Kalmadi’s personal securitymen and local policemen were visible in the compound with a high gate. Not many Kalmadi supporters were present when the CBI undertook the searches. Later, a few of his close aides told reporters that Kalmadi was being singled out for the CWG imbroglio though all decisions relating to the management of the CWG were taken collectively.

The CBI has so far filed three FIRs in connection with the CWG scam and has arrested Games organising committee joint director-general T S Darbari, deputy director-general Sanjay Mohindroo and also searched the residences of committee Director-General V K Verma and Kalmadi’s deputy in the committee Lalit Bhanot.

Former treasurer Jayachandran was also arrested by the agency. In New Delhi, sleuths of the CBI anti-corruption wing conducted simultaneous searches in the houses of Kalmadi on Kamaraj Lane.

Kalmadi was questioned about some documents during the searches, official sources said. Immediately after the searches, the CBI called his close aide Shekhar for questioning to the agency headquarters, the sources added.

Suresh Kalmadi, who came out to talk to mediapersons, calmly maintained that he had done nothing wrong. He had written three days ago to the CBI promising all help in the investigation, he said.

“I have not taken any decision alone. All decisions have been taken by the Executive Board,” he said.

He had had control over just 4 to 5 per cent of the Commonwealth Games budget. The CBI search was part of the ongoing investigation into the allegation of award of video installation work for the Queen’s Baton relay to a London-based private firm at inflated rates, CBI spokesperson Bineeta Thakur told reporters.

The raids were held in the backdrop of missing of crucial documents pertaining to tendering, purchasing and budgeting of sports event infrastructure.

Despite the government’s instructions to the Organising Committee to preserve all documents, the probe agency suspected that several vital papers had gone missing either due to destruction or had been kept hiden. Several documents recovered during searches are being scrutinised.

The CBI had written to the Union Cabinet Secretary seeking the removal of Kalmadi and his deputy Lalit Bhanot from the CWG Organising Committee post alleging that both were obstacles to the investigation.

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