Probe into New Delhi games demanded

Opposition party activists march in capital, seeking investigations against top organisers for alleged corruption.

    The games was staged successfully, despite initial concerns over safety and security [AFP]

    Hundreds of protesters from India's main opposition party have marched in Delhi, the capital, calling for investigations into alleged corruption by organisers of the recently concluded Commonwealth Games.

    Police used water cannons to disperse activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as they tried to break the security barrier and march towards the Indian parliament on Friday.

    The international sporting event, which intended to show India as a rising global power, lost some of its lustre due to allegations of corruption, construction delays and cost overruns.

    The demonstrators demanded a parliamentary inquiry against Sheila Dikshit, New Delhi's chief minister, and Suresh Kalmadi, the event's organising committee chairman, over allegations that millions of dollars were siphoned by companies run by relatives of games officials.

    Both Dikshit and Kalmadi are politicians from the ruling Congress party.

    Income tax raids

    After the two-week event ended on October 14, the government ordered a probe into the alleged irregularities. The anti-corruption agency of the government has already identified 16 games-related projects for probes.

    As part of the ongoing investigation, over 200 officials from the income tax department searched homes and offices of several people, including Sudhanshu Mittal, a BJP member, and other games contractors.

    Indian officials have been widely accused of trying to deflect responsibility for the event's problems and implicate their political rivals.

    The total amount spent on the competition was more than $6b, which is many times more than its original estimate of $412m.

    The Olympic-style competition brought together about 7,000 athletes from 71 countries and territories of the erstwhile British empire.

    Many countries had considered withdrawing their teams from the games over security and health conerns. But despite the initial concerns, the event was staged successfully.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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