Even Queen Unhappy with CWG Graft: Sharad Yadav

New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS): Alleging corruption in the preparations for the Commonwealth Games, Janta Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav Monday said that even Britain's Queen Elizabeth was upset over the issue.

"Even the queen is upset about it," Yadav said while participating in a short duration discussion in the Lok Sabha on the delay in preparing for the Oct 3-14 Games.

His remarks were countered immediately by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.

"The queen has written a letter appreciating the preparations. You can say what your opinion is but don't comment on the queen," Bansal said.

The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CGOC) is alleged to have paid AM Films, an Indian-owned firm in London, over 450,000 pounds for services during last year's Queen's Baton Relay inaugural without proper tendering and paperwork.

Two aides of CGOC chief Suresh Kalmadi were suspended after an enquiry found that an e-mail from the Indian High Commission in London on the basis of which the firm was hired were tampered with.

This apart, CGOC treasurer Anil Khanna quit in the wake of allegations that his son's firm was unduly favoured in ordering the synthetic turf for the tennis stadium for the Games.

Audit watchdog Comptroller and Auditor General of India has also commented adversely on the cost overruns for the stadia being built or refurbished for the Games.

Alleging that the government was not disclosing the exact amount of money being spent on the Games projects, Yadav said Congress member Manish Tewari, who spoke before him, had only given out those figures "which the government wanted to show".

"A report from the tourism ministry shows Rs.87.5 thousand crore has been spent on the Commonwealth Games," Yadav said.

"This is not true," Sports Minister M.S. Gill countered, adding: "The expenditure is close to 11,498 crore."

Yadav compared the preparations to "showing off", stating that the national capital was only being done up for the benefit of the large number of foreigners - both participants and tourists - who were expected to come here for the Games.

Participating in the debate, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad called for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into allegations of graft in preparing for the Games, a demand that had earlier been made by Kirti Azad of the Bharatiya Janata Party while initiating the debate in the house.

"A JPC should probe the issue. It will examine if the work has been done or not and deal with the issue of corruption," Lalu Prasad said.

Defending the National Democratic Alliance, during whose tenure the Games were allotted to New Delhi in 2003, the RJD leader said corruption had occurred during the ruling United Progressive Alliance's tenure.

"The work has been done in your (UPA) time. The country should get a clean chit," Lalu Prasad said.

He also said that money was being spent on the Games while many parts of the country were facing calamities like drought and floods.


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Title: Even Queen Unhappy with CWG Graft: Sharad Yadav

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