India Insight

India’s Games shame as countries ask for $70 million in outstanding fees

February 19, 2011

The athletes are long gone, but like the faded posters that are still scattered across New Delhi, the embarrassing legacy of India’s Commonwealth Games rumbles on in a widespread corruption investigation and charges of financial mismanagement by foreign contractors who are reportedly still owed $70 million.

Eight countries, representing 18 private firms, wrote to India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Sports Minister Ajay Maken claiming to be owed $70 million still outstanding from the organising committee, Times Now reported on Saturday.

President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and Commonwealth Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi is pictured inside the Commonwealth Games athletes village in New Delhi September 25, 2010. REUTERS/B Mathur

President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and Commonwealth Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi is pictured inside the Commonwealth Games athletes village in New Delhi September 25, 2010. REUTERS/B Mathur


The committee, and its chairman Suresh Kalmadi, a powerful ruling Congress party politician, was roundly criticised in the lead-up to the October 2010 Games for shoddy construction work, missed deadlines and a huge overspend, and has seen members investigated and arrested by the country’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The news of the outstanding payments came as a close aide of Kalmadi, Shekhar Deorukhar, was sent to jail for 14 days custody as part of the investigation into a 6 billion rupee ($133 million) overspend that so far has seen five committee members arrested.

Unpaid foreign contractors used during the Games have repeatedly requested outstanding payments since the Games ended, but organising committee officials have claimed that fees are being withheld due to breach of contract.

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