Member of Parliament Suresh Kalmadi, political opponents believe, should resign after the Delhi Court framed charges against him yesterday. Kalmadi’s supporters from the Congress on the other hand are confident that his innocence will be proven and state that he will be back with a bang and the city will support him once again.
The Delhi Court framed charges against the expelled CWG Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi along with nine others for allegedly cheating, conspiring and causing a loss of over Rs 90 crore to the exchequer in the Games-related corruption case. Special CBI Judge Ravinder Kaur framed charges under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act against Kalmadi and the other accused.
Kalmadi was not in the city, and none of his family members were available to comment on the court’s action yesterday. Dr Neelam Gorhe, MLC and Shiv Sena spokesperson, said, “The entire process of the CWG scam case has been delayed despite the fact that CAG had made strong strictures on it. The procedure of the court has been delayed by over a year. The good thing that has happened is that Kalmadi has been banned by the Olympic organisation. We have to wait patiently till the court verdict is declared. I am also keenly looking into the charges framed in the charge sheet. We shall not ruin the image of Pune and its residents will certainly answer via the ballot box in the Lok Sabha election scheduled in 2014.”
Girish Bapat, MLA, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said, “It is high time Congress expels the tainted MP instead of just suspending him from the party. The court has been framing charges against Kalmadi, who shamed the country with his scam. I urge that he should get stringent punishment.” Rajesh Jagtap, president, Janata Dal (United), said, “Kalmadi should resign as an MP from Pune, as the court has formally framed charges against him. Morally, he does not have the right to occupy the post as MP from Pune.”
Want him back
Ramesh Bagwe, Kalmadi’s associate from Congress, said, “I have strong faith on our courts and truth will prevail and Kalmadi will be proved innocent. In fact, people of Pune need a leader like Kalmadi as he ensured maximum development works in the city. He is the only leader who involved citizens, barring caste and creed, for his mission to make Pune a better place. Like me, many citizens are with him and also want him back without any charges levelled.” Deputy Mayor, PMC, Deepak Mankar said, “As the issue comes under the purview of the honourable court, let it take the decision. It is wrong to make any statements about the case, which is now sub judice.”
Charge sheet seems weak
Retired IAS officer Arun Bhatia, who had contested the Lok Sabha election against Suresh Kalmadi in 2009 and also filed a PIL against the MP, said that the charge sheet appeared to be weak. “I will certainly go to Delhi and urge the honourable court to remove lacunas in the charge sheet first. The CBI should make honest efforts and to prosecute the tainted MP,” he said. He added that he intends to examine the charge sheet thoroughly as he is sure, like earlier, there were many loopholes in the CBI investigation. Bhatia said that the CBI had acted slowly and even Kalmadi’s house and business places were raided after six months. “Also, during the investigation, Kalmadi was not removed from his post as CWG Chairman,” Bhatia said.