The Commonwealth Games (CWG) Scam jeopardized the reputation of India in the global platform. It reflected the extreme condition of corruption, mismanagement, fraud and misuse of funds in the Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth Games is an international sport event featuring multi-sport events. It involves athletes from all the Commonwealth of Nations. This event started in 1930 as the British Empire games. The main purpose of this mega event is to build and increase goodwill and understanding among the various participating events. This event united the global population through the celebration of sports.
The Commonwealth Games 2010
New Delhi, the capital city of India, hosted The Commonwealth Games 2010, officially known as XIX Commonwealth Games. Participants from 71 countries, more than 2000 staff members, more than 18,000 volunteers and thousands of spectators gathered together for this 12 days event. Hosting this event was a matter of pride for India. India made a huge infrastructural arrangement for successfully hosting this event. This large scale event required a massive amount of funds for the preparation and operation.
The Commonwealth Games Scam 2010
New Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 got exposed for the biggest Indian scam of Rs. 70,000 crore for mishandling of funds. There was a series of evidence which exposed the fraudulent and mishandling of funds. Of the total funds quoted, it was estimated half of the funds were actually used.
This event has been under a raft of problems ever since New Delhi planned to host the event in November 2003. The Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 was a debacle. Time and often there have been clear cases of sheer negligence during the preparation process of this mega event. This event aimed to transform the capital city of India into an international game hub. But this project was under regular criticism for its approach to infrastructural development.
The political and administrative aspect played a major role in establishing this scam (by not controlling it). The construction which was made, to beautify the city, during the preparation of this event was just to represent the city as a ‘world class city’, without any approach to sustainability. Apart from the mismanagement of funds, there was a tremendous mess in managing the whole event. The infrastructures used for CWG were not up to the par compared to the amount invested in its development.
Corruption intention fueled the whole sporting event. The contract for the CWG was lobbied to the companies that had higher rates for equipment and facilities rather than to the ones who had given best rates to carry out the event. The deserving companies for the contract were disqualified. This resulted in poor management which led to problems like unfinished infrastructures, unmanaged venues, security and safety breaches, unreliable services to the participants, inconvenience to attendees, poorly managed accommodation and travel etc.
Minds behind “The Commonwealth Games Scam”
The CWG organizing committee Chief Suresh Kalmadi was the main accused of the scam. The organizing committee had the power to manage and conduct the event in Delhi. The CBI charged Suresh Kalmadi and other ten culprits for the scam. Similarly, two companies’ Swiss temporal order and AKR construction who were given the contract for CWG were also charged for the scam. Some politicians, bureaucrats and businessman names were also linked with the scam.
Inflated contracts were the The major issue with the scam. Mr. Suresh Kalmadi manipulated the contracts and lobbying contracts to companies who over-quoted. Companies who provided better deals during the preparation were disqualified for various reasons. This event was a coordinated corruption event. Along with Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, two of his close aides Mr. Lalit Bhanot and V.K. Verma was also arrested for their involvement.
Figures involved in “The Commonwealth Games Scam”
The Commonwealth Games 2010 had been a failed plan from the very beginning. This event clearly lacked a proper plan and a procedural execution leading to mismanagement of funds and mayhem of the project.
As the initial phase budget, Rs. 1,000 crores was determined for the venues and venues related projects. This initial phase budget was later revised and raised to Rs. 2,460 crores. For this, the budget allocated by the organizing committee was Rs. 1,620 crores but the committee had the expenditure figure of Rs. 11,500 crores. All such, miscalculation or overspending or under projection raised the question towards the credibility of the organizing committee. There is no accountability of the money and funds mismanaged during the event.
Unethical Decision during The Commonwealth Games 2010
- Mr. Suresh Kalmadi and other members awarded the contract of timing/scoring/result system to a Swiss Firm, Swiss Timing Omega, at an contract amount of Rs. 141 crore. Mr. Kalmadi rejected a deal with a Spanish firm, MSL which was providing the same deal at Rs. 62 crore. Making such despair decision, Mr. Kalmadi made a clear loss of over Rs. 80 crore.
- The tender for renovation of stadiums was opened. It was estimated to be Rs. 808, 518,605. A firm China Railway Shisiju Group Corporation (CRSGC) bagged the contract at a sum of Rs. 1,602,716,430. CRSGC later sub-contracted the work to Simplex Projects Limited (SPL) at half the cost of its original contract. This clearly reflected negligence while awarding the contracts. Companies bagged such contracts at inflated cost.
- In the event, bus services worth Rs. 18,000 were spent on DTC bus service. Delhi government purchased a bus at the cost of Rs. 60 lakh against its original cost of Rs. 40 lakh which is a loss of Rs. 20 lakh in a bus.
- Delhi government spent around Rs. 10 lakh in constructing a pillar for extension of Delhi Metro which actually cost Rs. 7 lakh.
- In the opening ceremony, the Commonwealth Games Committee organized an Aerostat show which cost around 70 crores. The actual cost of Aerostat was Rs. 40 crores.
- This scam valued at approximately Rs. 70,000 crore . Corrupt transactions and inflationary contracts showed the big financial frauds in this scam of CWG.
CBI probe to the Scam
This scam became a big news even in international community. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) overtook this case for investigation. CBI investigation concluded Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, Chief of organizing committee, as the main culprit behind the scam. Along with Mr. Kalmadi, ten other individuals and two other companies were also charged. The organizing committee could not submit the exact amount of expenditure in their reports to hide their mishandling of the funds.
CBI arrested Mr. Suresh Kalmadi on 21st April, 2021. He stayed in jail, as a punishment, for 11 months. The court charged Mr. Kalmadi and his associates under 4 different sections as per IPC and Interference of corruption act. The first act was under section 120(B) for criminal conspiracy. The second act was under section 420 for cheating. The third act was under section 468 for forgery. The final act was under section 471 for using solid documents.
Impact due to “The Commonwealth Games 2010”
The scam of this amount will obviously have a huge impact on any economy. This event of 2010 had made a huge political and economical impact on the economy of India. CWG scam worthed about Rs. 70,000 crores which means this amount remained unaudited from the financial and monetary system of India and Rs. 70,000 crores back in 2010 is huge for a developing economy like India.
Such mismanagement of funds creates a disbelief situation towards government, authorities, sports and all the concerned bodies. This event would have a negative financial impact for India.
Majority of the Indian population live below the poverty line, India became the host country and spent millions to conduct the event. This scam showed the misuse of public funds. India is still struggling to fulfill its basic facilities like education, health, sanitation, power etc.
But the nation’s spending on the Commonwealth Games as an astronomical figure didn’t seem appropriate. The spending done in the Commonwealth Games 2010 in India is among the highest spending for Commonwealth spending. Though this event could have provided the needed exposure to India, the news of mismanagement turned it all negative.
Hosting such a grand event attracted the whole world. In contrary, hosting the event shadowed the primary national priorities. There are arguments that the funds misused might help in the development of the nation or uplifting the people living in the poverty line. CWG developmental works shifted around 1 lakh families and displaced around 30,0000 families. The family displaced and shifted suffered due to poor management by the CWG committee of India.
India faced huge financial losses due to scams. CWG scam shows the un accounted overspending of the public funds. This forced the Indian government to reduce the budget allocation on different sectors like health, education, and other sectors. This situation affected the overall economy of India as it affected the GDP and increased the unemployment rate.
The underpaid workers during the development of the venues faced a financial crisis to meet their daily needs. This scam had a negative impact on the reputation of India and highlighted the high level of frauds, corruption and misuse of public funds.
One of the biggest issues in India is corruption. Each and every sector of India is suffering from corruption. The Commonwealth Games is the prime example of such a case. The corrupt parties involved in the CWG scam misused the hard-earned money of the taxpayers. Apart from all these, this event taught a good lesson about the importance
- Commonwealth Network
- The Hindu
- Rumu Banerjee, Commonwealth Games theme song unveiled, The Economic Times (Aug. 29, 2010)
- Economic Times