Signatures forged to release payment for CWG contractors

New Delhi: Investigators probing financial irregularities in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games have found that some unidentified officials had forged signatures of certain Organising Committee members to release payments worth crores of rupees.

Sources said both CBI and CVC officials have seized several documents related to payment details where forged signatures were used to release huge amounts of funds to companies, some of which did not even exist.

They said documents suggest that there has been a criminal conspiracy among unknown officials of the OC, who misused authority to cause loss worth crores of rupees to the exchequer.

Sources said the money involved in the fraud could not be ascertained but termed it "quiet huge".

"We are still investigating the matter. Several papers have been taken into custody and we are verifying facts. We will assess the role of certain OC personnel," an investigator said requesting anonymity.

The official also refused to disclose the names of people whose signatures were forged citing the pending investigation.

Many contractors involved in various projects in the run up to the mega sporting event have claimed that their payments were still pending with the Committee. Certain Australian firms have also raised the issue of non-payment with Foreign Minister S M Krishna.

Former OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, Secretary General Lalit Bhanot, Vice Chairman Raja Randhir Singh and Treasurer A K Mattoo were authorised to release payments.

Government has ousted Kalmadi and Bhanot from the OC in order to facilitate an impartial multi-agency probe in the Games bunglings.At present, OC Chief Executive Office Jarnail Singh has taken over charge of Chairman and Secretary General.

Both Kalmadi and Bhanot have been interrogated by the CBI in connection with the corruption cases. Key aides of the former OC head are also being questioned by the investigating agency.

Different agencies like Central Vigilance Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate are probing several complaints of corruption and violation of official norms in the conduct of the mega sporting event.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on October 25 last year appointed a high-level committee to look into financial and managerial lapses in the sporting extravaganza held here between October 3-14.