Kalmadi pleads 'not guilty'
India's former Olympics chief pleaded not guilty in court yesterday to an array of corruption charges related to his handling of the chaotic Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010
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.