Kalmadi houses raided, says ready for full investigation

Emerging from his house at Kamraj Lane here after raids that began at dawn Friday, Kalmadi said he has no idea what the Central Bureau of Investigation officials had taken away from his home. The central probe agency searched his houses in New Delhi and Pune and his brother's in Mumbai in pursuit of charges of financial wrongdoing in the Oct 3-14 Games.

"I have always said that we had a very successful Commonwealth Games. I am ready, the Organising Committee is ready for any investigation," he said.

Kalmadi said he was ready for "full investigation" and that he has  written to the CBI stating that he had given all cooperation to the agency.

"Everywhere there is full cooperation and we are ready for full investigation," Kalmadi told reporters here. His business premises were also searched.

"I had written a letter to CBI chief three days ago, assuring him that I will extend my full cooperation to them," he said.

Kalmadi asserted that he had only control of just four to five percent of the Commonwealth Games budget, and pointed out that he had not done any construction.

He added that the Organising Committee had given all the documents. "OC has given all documents. The issue is we have 5-6 agencies (who are investigating the OC)," he said.

Asked about the claims that some Games documents were missing, he suggested that these may have been taken away by some other official agency. "If any documents are missing, we will give them that also."

What have they taken from his residence, he was asked. He replied: "I don't know... They have given me a list."

Asked why the CBI raided his house if he was innocent, the Indian Olympic Association president shot back: "You should ask them."

The well-coordinated CBI operation began around 7 a.m. in all the three cities, with the raiding teams in Pune and Mumbai led by officers flown in from New Delhi.

Official sources in Pune said Kalmadi's house off Karve Road was searched by a seven-member team. His close aide Manoj Bhore's house in the city was also searched.

The CBI is probing alleged irregularities in the Organising Committee's contract of Rs.107 crore spent on overlays.

The charges against Kalmadi include overspending -- by crores of rupees. Kalmadi has said in his defence that many of the equipments were bought by the Organising Committee late due to lack of storage space and because the Games venues were not ready for installation.

Kalmadi's brother's Mumbai residence, where CBI officers conducted their search for about three hours, is located on the elite Pochkanwala Road in Worli.

Informed sources said the CBI also questioned Kalmadi's aide Vinod Surve in Mumbai. CBI officials did not confirm this.

The Commonwealth Games, which drew nearly 7,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories, were marred by controversies even before they began -- on charges of shoddy work, delays and corruption.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi said earlier that the guilty would be punished.

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