Manmohan Singh scotches Gill's Scottish sojourn

CWG mess: Union sports minister asked to stay put in Delhi
Last Updated 20 October 2010, 19:21 IST

The Union minister, who did not cover himself in glory over several aspects of the Games, has been told by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to cancel his visit to Scotland where Gill was to “learn more” about the next Commonwealth Games. Gill was to be away for a week.

Already concerned over the massive levels of corruption alleged to have taken place in the conduct of the Delhi Games, the prime minister wanted Gill to stay put in the capital so that he was available if required in connection with the ongoing multi-agency probe.
Singh was said to have been not happy over Gill handling his part of CWG activities.

“The prime minister would have agreed if Gill wanted to visit Beijing where Asian Games are scheduled to be held next month. What is the point of going to Glasgow now, especially when Delhi Games are just over and Glasgow Games are four years away?”, asked a  source.

At one of the cabinet meetings, he was even told not to make any presentation when the minister informed the prime minister that he wanted to make a power-point presentation on the CWG. This was just a week before the Games were to start, when the controversy over the time and cost overrun was at its peak. The prime minister was understood to have told Gill that he did not want a debate on shoddy preparations.

Gill had also come under fire when he told Parliament in casual manner that everything will be fine once the Games begin as he compared the CWG to an Indian wedding.  “Like an Indian wedding, (CWG) preparations go on until the last minute, but everything ultimately falls into place”, he had remarked.

Gill too almost had a running war of words with CWG organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, who has been accused of being responsible for the mess. Gill also courted controversy as he virtually snubbed Satpal, wrestler Sushil Kumar’s coach, by asking him to step aside during a photo session with the gold medal winning wrestling champ.

Meanwhile, former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu, who will head the high-level probe into all matters relating to conduct of the CWG, will arrive here on Thursday from the USA, where he had gone on a visit.

Shunglu is likely to meet the prime minister in a day or two after which he will launch his investigations into the irregularities. Official sources said the terms of reference of the  committee will be finalised only after he meets Singh and other senior officials.  These sources also dismissed reports that cabinet discussed the CWG scam at its meeting on Wednesday.

(Published 20 October 2010, 19:10 IST)

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