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Games: ‘guilty will be punished'

J. Balaji

NEW DELHI: Members of the ruling United Progressive Alliance and the Opposition locked horns in the Lok Sabha on Monday over alleged corruption in building infrastructure and procuring equipment and other materials for the Commonwealth Games (CWG).

The Opposition termed the “irregularities” a “national shame” and demanded a probe by the CBI as well as a joint parliamentary committee.

Intervening during the debate, Urban Development Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said those found to have committed irregularities would be punished. The punishment would be as draconian as the Constitution permitted. “Who can say that in any system irregularities did not occur?” he asked, urging the members to make specific complaints. He asserted that all pending works would be completed by August 31. Many stadia had been handed over to the CWG Organising Committee.

Mr. Reddy rejected the Opposition charge that the government spent more than Rs.1 lakh crore on the Games. In all, Rs.28,054 crore was being spent — Rs.11,494 crore by the government of India and Rs.16,560 crore by the Delhi government. The Delhi government was spending Rs.670 crore directly for the Games like construction of the stadia, and the rest was used for building flyovers, bridges, road-over bridges and road-under bridges, augmenting the fleet of the Delhi Transport Corporation, road improvement, improving road signage and extending the metro rail system.

The reports given by the Central Vigilance Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, based on which the Opposition made the charges were only preliminary.

Earlier, the Opposition, led by the BJP, attacked the government. Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal (United) sought the resignation of Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi. While Mr. Kalmadi did not react, Mr. Yadav went on to say that he would have resigned, had he been in Mr. Kalmadi's position.

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