Prasar Bharati awarded CWG contracts arbitrarily: Shunglu Committee

New Delhi : The Shunglu Committee said in its first report Tuesday that Commonwealth Games contracts were awarded by public broadcaster Prasar Bharati abrbitrarily “without ensuring reasonable rates and overruling suggestions”.

The report also noted that Prasar Bharati sanctioned highly inflated bills for the host broadcasting of the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi in October 2010.

Most of the decisions to support and award the inflated bids were take by the director general of Dooradarshan (Aruna Sharma) and then chief executive officer B.S. Lalli (now under suspension) despite the strong contrary view, the committee said.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Tuesday said it has taken a “serious view” on the first report and will take “stern action” on it.

“The prime minister has taken a serious view of the findings of the first report of the Shunglu Committee on host broadcasting” by the UK-based SIS Live, a PMO statement said.

“The report has been sent to the cabinet secretary (K.M. Chandrasekhar). Stern action is likely to be taken on the basis of the cabinet secretary’s recommendations,” the statement added.

The PMO has also said that Chandrasekhar has been asked to submit his report within a week with his “considered recommendation on follow-up steps”.

The Shunglu Committee has indicted Lalli and Aruna Sharma for allegedly causing Rs.135 crore loss to the exchequer in awarding to the British firm the broadcasting rights for the Commonwealth Games.

Shunglu, a former comptroller and auditor general (CAG) of India, was appointed to head a committee to probe allegations of corruption in the conduct of the CWG. Shantanu Consul, a former union government secretary, is the second member of the panel.

The Shunglu report said: “There were deliberate delays in following schedules, creating emergency situations leaving virtually no option for re-tender or for exploring other competitive avenues in the face of high rates quoted”.

“Acts of omission and commission, including suppression of critical information necessary for informed decisions, undue favours to service providers, inappropriate changes in contractual terms and terms and conditions and false recording of minutes by key functionaries were also observed,” the report added.

More reports on the other contracts and conduct of the Games is to be submitted by the Shunglu Committee by March 31.

The CWG in Delhi had become a subject of controversies after allegations of corruption in the construction of the infrastructure and conduct of the Games were reported by the media on the basis of the preliminary reports of the CAG.

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