India arrests corruption-tainted Games chief

Suresh Kalmadi, criticised for his handling of 2010 Commonwealth Games, charged in case concerning equipment purchase.

    Kalmadi's arrest comes in the context of growing public anger in India over widespread corruption [EPA]

    Indian investigators have confirmed the arrest of the chief organiser of last year's scandal-plagued Commonwealth Games as part of a corruption investigation.

    The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said late on Monday that Suresh Kalmadi was charged with conspiracy to favour a Swiss company in the purchase of equipment for timing and scoring events. It also said the prices were inflated.

    "[Investigators] are saying that he had colluded with Swiss officials from that company, that there was no transparent procedure and no accountability when that account was awarded," Al Jazeera's Prenra Suri reported from New Dehli.

    Kalmadi is accused of conspiracy, forgery and cheating.

    Two other officials on the Games' organising committee were arrested earlier for involvement in the same case.

    The CBI, the Indian equivalent of the FBI, accuses Lalit Bhanot and VK Verma of causing a huge loss to the Indian government by paying $31m to Swiss Timings Ltd for equipment available from another company for much less.

    "It's been the build-up of a series of corruption scandals that's really embarrassed this country," Suri reported, noting "rising public anger" against the federal government’s perceived failure to take serious steps against corruption.
     
    Earlier in the month, the federal government agreed to write a stringent anti-corruption law under pressure from social activists.

    Anna Hazare won support from thousands of Indians during a hunger strike in protest over the government’s reluctance to pass the law.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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