The Commonwealth Games Scam

india commonwealth games law insider in
india commonwealth games law insider in

By Shivangi Bhatawadekar

The Commonwealth Games is one of the many international multi-sport events held in the world. Athletes belonging to the Commonwealth of Nations (an association of previous British territories and colonies).

The Commonwealth Games Federation governs the games and their organization. Apart from these, the Federation also conducts the Commonwealth Paraplegic Games, Commonwealth Winter Games and the Commonwealth Youth Games.

The event consists of about 24 sports played by 72 teams. The first edition of these games was held in Canada in 1930. The latest edition was played in 2018, held in Australia. The next edition is planned for 2022 in England.

Commonwealth Games and India

India started competing in these games from the second edition, from 1934. India did not participate in the Commonwealth Games conducted in 1950, 1962 and 1986.

India hosted the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 2010. It was the nineteenth edition of the games, held in New Delhi. There was a participation of 71 teams in around 272 events. In this edition, the medal tally was topped by Australia, followed by India.

The Commonwealth Games Scam

The 2010 Commonwealth Games ran into many scams and troubles. They are:

Swiss Timings Scam: Suresh Kalmadi, the then Indian Olympic Association president, was appointed as the chairman of the games’ organizing committee.

Due to the inefficient and delayed preparation of the games and other suspicious activities of Kalmadi, he came under the check of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The Central Vigilance Commission was given charge of investigating this scam. The main accusation against Kalmadi was of the Swiss Timings Contract.

Swiss Timings was offered a Rs 141 crore contract for its timing equipment during the games. It was stated that the amount was inflated by Rs 95 crores.

Lighting Scam: The CBI had stated that tenders were invited for setting up the lighting in the games. This was accepted by many private companies. Sweska Powertech was one of them.

After opening of tenders and accepting some of them, some documents relating to the tender application of Sweska Powertech were manipulated. This led to a loss of Rs. 1.43 cr to the state and this money went in the pockets of a few.

Other issues: Apart from the scams and financial crimes during the initial stages of organization, the quality of preparation also came into scrutiny.

  • Twelve days before the event, a footbridge at the site of the games collapsed, drawing concerns regarding the infrastructure and safety of the athletes and spectators.
  • The hospitality facility of the athletes was a mess. Pictures showing stained floors and walls, paw marks on beds etc from the athletes’ village surfaced through the media.
  • A few athletes reported problems with the equipment during the games. The swimming pool required much maintenance even during ongoing races and before the finals. Emergency problems and breaking down of filtration systems etc caused delays in the races. Many swimmers also fell ill during the games hence questions were raised against the quality of water.
  • It was alleged that the condition of Indian athletes was worse. Only half of the amount allotted towards them was spent on facilities for them.

After the Games:

After the Games, investigation was called for the scam and allegations that were raised. Suresh Kalmadi and the other accused in the Swiss Timings case were arrested by the CBI.

The charges were of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery for purpose of cheating and some sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. All the accused were convicted. Suresh Kalmadi was sentenced to jail for about 10 months after being found guilty.

Pic Source- Outlook

In the lighting scam, the court found five people guilty and sentenced them to jail. The convicts were charged under criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery for purpose of cheating. The main accused, TP Singh (MD of Sweska Powertech) was sentenced six years in prison whereas the other four convicted (MCD officials) were given a four-year sentence.

So Far

The Commonwealth Games is one of the many prestigious multi-sport events participated by and witnessed throughout many countries. Hosting one of the editions of these games is a matter of pride and responsibility.

Any scam or controversy like this taints the image of the nation in front of the global community. The games were a success but the arrangement, hospitality etc was questioned.

The flaws in the infrastructure facilities were discussed throughout international media. Countries expressed concerns regarding the security and hospitality of their athletes. Some even considered boycotting the games.

Even though the games occurred a decade back, whenever this edition is remembered, the negatives are thought of first.

This seriously affects India’s image in the minds of people, something that must be worked upon. We must look into our corruption prevention laws and enforcement of the same so that we don’t miss out on any further opportunity of representing ourselves as a developed nation in front of the global eyes.

References:

  1. timesofindia miscellaneous/Commonwealth-Games-Scam
  2. Commonwealth_Games#_corruption
  3. hindustantimes first-sentencing-in-commonwealth-games-scam
  4. moneycontrol
  5. economictimes cwg-street-lights-scam-4-mcd-officials-2-others-get-jail-terms

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