Congress alleges scam in Lusofonia Games, complains to CBI
Alleging a multi-crore rupee scam in organising the Lusofonia Games - the Portuguese Commonwealth Games - in January, the Congress Saturday filed a complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Overpriced medals, large-scale irregularities in allotting tenders for creating sports infrastructure and hiring of firms tainted in the Delhi Commonwealth Games are some of the key charges made by the Congress.
The complaint demands a probe into role the state's sports ministry and key officials involved in organising the Portuguese Commonwealth Games.
"Central government funds were utilised for hosting of these Games, which is why we have complained to the CBI. The state police can anyway not be trusted with a sensitive investigation where top officials and politicians are involved," party spokesperson Durgadas Kamat told reporters here Saturday.
"There is illegal gratification for several government functionaries and officials in these illegalities and hence a thorough probe would be necessary to find the culprits who have caused a huge loss to the government exchequer," Kamat has said in the complaint.
The 12-day Lusofonia Games featured countries like Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India (Goa), Macau (China), Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe and Sri Lanka, whose athletes competed in nine sporting disciplines. Goa, one of the earliest Portuguese colonies in Asia, was colonised in the early 1500s.
The Lusofonia Games 2014 were the third edition after the first in Macau in 2006 and in Lisbon in 2009.
Kamat also said that Game's medals were procured for Rs.6,500 each, when the lower tender bids for the medals were in the range from Rs. 400 to Rs. 600. He also said that officials and companies which were blacklisted in the scam-tainted Delhi Commonwealth games were also roped in to organise the Lusofonia Games.
Sports minister Ramesh Tawadkar has rubbished the charges, saying all rule and norms were followed in organising the Games and that a desperate Congress was trying its best to rake an issue out of a non-issue.
"We have clarified so many times about these same charges. The Congress is just creating an issue where there is none. We have stuck to rules and laws to organize the event," Tawadkar said.
(Posted on 02-08-2014)