Book Kalmadi for Rs 25-cr fraud: Legislative panel

There seems to be no end in sight for the troubles that havegripped former chief of Indian Olympic Association Suresh Kalmadi over the past few years. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the state legislature has held the Pune MP responsible for unaccounted expenditure of Rs 25.12 crore during the Commonwealth Games, and has strongly recommended a criminal case against him.

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According to the report, Kalmadi failed to provide substantial proof and details of the money that he had spend — Rs 20 crore on furniture and fixtures, Rs 5.85 crore for branding and decoration, and Rs 63.95 lakh towards networking.

Despite several demands, no bills towards the expenses was submitted to the committee, observes the report tabled by BJP MLA Girish Bapat, also the chairman of the committee.

The amount in question was Rs 32.95 crore sanctioned from the contingency fund by the state government headed by late Vilasrao Deshmukh. It was apart from the original budget of Rs 425.50 crore sanctioned for the development of the games venue — Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune — and the purchase of equipment.

While Suresh Kalmadi was the chairman of the organising committee, Lalit Bhanot was the member secretary. According to the PAC report, out of the total Rs 32.95 crore, the director of sports, Pune, released Rs 25.12 crore to the organising committee, while he spent Rs 4.36 crore and kept the remaining amount of Rs 3.47 crore with himself illegally.

Besides the issue pertaining to Kalmadi, the committee also raised questions over the manner in which sanctions were given for the development of VITS Hotel near the sport complex. Also, the report expresses doubts over the way the hotel plot was leased out to Unity Infrastructure, which later transferred the shares to Vitthal Kamat of Orchid Group of Hotels. 

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