Suresh Kalmadi, a lawmaker for the ruling Congress party, faces charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery, abuse of office and intimidation over a contract awarded to Swiss Timing, which is part of the Swatch luxury goods empire.
Swiss Timing, which is named in the case but has not responded to a court summons, won a 1.1 billion rupee ($21 million) contract to serve as the official time-keeper and results provider. Kalmadi signed a statement to declare his innocence of all charges and did not address the court.
“My client has pleaded not guilty,” Kalmadi’s lawyer, S Agarwal, said outside the court. “The court has formally framed charges today.”
Will challenge decision
Agarwal said that Kalmadi may try to challenge the decision to order a trial in the High Court. “We will examine the charges and take a further decision on the matter,” the lawyer said.
Seven others on trial also pleaded not guilty in written statements submitted to a special court set up to try the suspects over the massively over-budget Delhi event. They face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Also facing charges are Kalmadi’s deputy during the Commonwealth Games Lalit Bhanot, who has since been elected number two in the Indian Olympic Association in a scandal-tainted process.
The dysfunctional organisation of the Delhi event — the most expensive in Commonwealth Games history at $6 billion — led to Kalmadi becoming a public hate-figure and he was booed by the crowd during the two-week event.