CWG: ED to file first charge sheet

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate is set to file its first charge sheet in the alleged financial irregularities in Commonwealth Games which will name some top officials of the Organising Committee of the 2010 event.

The charge sheet will focus on the alleged foreign exchange violations in the Queen`s Baton Relay (QBR) held in 2009 in London and would feature the roles of various OC officials including its sacked chairman Suresh Kalmadi in the overall decision making.

While the alleged irregularities under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) is around Rs five crore, few multi-layered and attached transactions of the event could lead to the overall forex contraventions of about Rs 12-13 crore.

The ED, according to sources, has questioned a number of officials in this regard while it has also separately questioned Kalmadi last year while he was lodged in Tihar jail.

Amongst those who had been questioned in the case include suspended OC joint director general T S Darbari and former officials like director general V K Verma, deputy director general Sanjay Mohindroo and joint director general (accounts and finance) M Jaychandran.

British authorities had earlier referred to the Indian High Commission a matter regarding A M Films, a little-known London-based company, to which a huge sum of money was also transferred through the Royal Bank of Scotland. Also, the CBI has recently recorded the statement of Ashish Patel who owns the two London-based companies -AM Films and AM Vans Pvt Ltd, which bagged the contract for conducting the QBR event in the run up to the Games which were held in October 2010 here.

The ED, however, will not record or use the CBI statement of Patel in its charge sheet as its probe focussed on the legality of the transfer of funds and their utilisation for the QBR and Patel had no role in it.

ED`s probe, according to sources, has relied heavily on the information provided by the RBI in this regard and other documents it has seized earlier from the OC and those provided by the UK government.

A noting in the minutes of the meeting of the committee for evaluation of bids relating to the work of arranging display services as a part of crowd control measure during the QBR had provided leads to the agency.

"The firm has asked for hundred per cent advanced payment and in view of the short time available and the risk of event cancellation, the committee (OC) recommends that the advance payment of hundred per cent may be given to the firm (AM Films) to facilitate taking up the work in time," the minutes had stated.
The sources said that violation under FEMA could be related to the arrangements of this 100 per cent advance payment to A M Films.

According to sources, the minutes of the meeting said that the committee "also expressed concerns on the vendor not willing to deliver services without payment and they indicated that if the vendor does not confirm to provide the display screens they would have no options but to cancel the QBR event" and hence the legal route was allegedly skipped to conduct the UK-based event.