Dues to 36 foreign companies cleared, says CWG OC

New Delhi: The embattled organising committee of the Delhi Commonwealth Games on Tuesday claimed that it has cleared dues amounting to Rs 111.84 crore to 36 of the 45 foreign companies involved with the conduct of the event held last year.

The remaining nine companies have already been paid Rs 191.11 crore and a balance amount to the tune of Rs 17.80 crore has been withheld owing to non-performance of contractual obligations, the OC, which is facing allegations of widescale corruption, said.

The companies which have got their dues include eight vendors to whom payments have been made between January 24 to January 31.

In addition, there are 71 Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) to whom a total travel grant to the tune of Rs 16.74 crore was payable. Out of these, the OC said, 64 CGAs have been paid Rs 14.95 crore, and the balance payment of Rs 1.79 crore to the seven remaining associations will be released by February 7.

Quite a few companies from Australia and England threatened to sue the CWG organisers for non-payment of pending dues running into millions of dollars.

Reports of a USD three million-plus class action emerged at a time when India`s foreign minister S M Krishna visited Australia and the issue figured prominently in Krishna`s talks with his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd.

The claims were largely linked to the opening and closing ceremonies and Australian firms said they were upset with the OC`s refusal to settle disputes.

The OC countered that most payments were complete and those awaiting disposal had to do with "under performance and contractual obligations".

Newly elected sports minister Ajay Maken then directed government nominees in the OC to thoroughly verify unpaid dues and make all the legitimate payments within 10 days.

The payment disputes lingered for more than three months after the October 3 to 14 Games. Australian firms such as Howard and Sons, Norwest and a consultant for the ceremonies had claimed that doing business in India was an arbitrary and risk-laden affair.

Agency reports said events organiser Ric Birch had commissioned a law firm for a multi-million dollar lawsuit that would involve four large Australian firms including his Spectak Productions and fireworks company Howard & Sons.

The companies whose payments have been released are Swiss Timing, Infostrade Sports, K Events SRL, Mark Fisher, Great Big Event, Spectek Production, Production Resource Group, EKS Workforce and E&Y Workforce (Consortium with EKS).