Kalmadi, others pressurised me to choose Swiss Timing:Witness

Last Updated 12 March 2013, 14:22 IST

A former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) official today told a Delhi court that he was pressurised by Suresh Kalmadi and another accused to reject the bid of Spain's MSL and select Swiss Timing for giving the contract for TSR system.

Deposing as prosecution witness, Virender Kumar Saksena, who was then OC's Additional Director General (Revenue), said that sacked CWG OC chairman Kalmadi, facing trial on corruption and other charges, had told him and other officials in a meeting that "Swiss Timing should be selected".

He also said later on OC's Director General V K Verma, co-accused in the case, had called him for a meeting and had tried to convince him why only Swiss Timing, another accused, qualifies the pre qualification bid for the contract of Timing Scoring and Result (TSR) system.

"Once the pre qualification bids had been opened, a meeting of the committee members was called in the chamber of the chairman, OC Suresh Kalmadi where the DG (OC) V K Verma was also present....
"We were addressed by both the chairman and the DG. The chairman told us that Swiss Timing should be selected. The DG observed that the committee members knew how this is to be done," Saksena told Special CBI Judge Ravinder Kaur.
He also said when he had expressed that both the bidders, Swiss Timing and MSL, qualify the pre qualification stage, Verma told him that if Saksena qualifies MSL, "he might face a CBI inquiry."

"I told him (Verma) that as a senior Income Tax official, I am conversant with applying facts of a case to conditions stipulated in a document and in case I am required to defend my decision, I would be more comfortable with my view rather than the view expressed by him.

"Somewhere the pressure kept building upon me to reject MSL. I decided to put my view in writing and to circulate them to all the committee members through e-mails," he said.

Kalmadi, Verma and nine others are facing trial in a case relating to alleged "illegal" awarding of a contract to install TSR system for the CWG to Swiss Timing at inflated rates causing a loss of over Rs 90 crore to the exchequer.

The other accused, facing trial in the case, are OC's former Secretary General Lalit Bhanot, former Director General (Procurement) Surjit Lal, former Joint Director General (Sports) A S V Prasad and former Treasurer M Jayachandran. They are no more associated with the sporting body.

Apart from the six, promoters of two construction firms - P D Arya and A K Madan of Faridabad-based Gem International and A K Reddy of Hyderabad-based AKR Constructions are also accused in the case. AKR Constructions is also an accused in the case.

In his testimony, Saksena said that after he had circulated his views to other committee members, he was called by Kalmadi who expressed his "unhappiness" with his decision.

"I apologised to him for having been unable to execute his directions. The chairman OC had observed 'we know how to get it corrected'," Saksena, whose cross examination remained inconclusive today, said.

All the accused are facing trial in the case for charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery, cheating and other offences entailing maximum punishment of life term.
The court had framed substantial charges of misusing official position against the six former OC officials, who were public servants.

(Published 12 March 2013, 14:22 IST)

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