CWG Scam: On Kalmadi Swoop, CBI Unearths Blackmail Note

NEW DELHI,Dec 26(TOI): It is double whammy for Suresh Kalamdi. As the once redoubtable sports czar deals with the probe by the investigating agencies into his alleged role in the mega corruption in the hosting of Commonwealth Games scam, he also seems to be having to cope with a blackmail threat.

The CBI sleuths who raided Kalmadi's premises chanced upon a letter at his Delhi bungalow demanding Rs 4 crore in exchange for a "compact disc" containing allegedly damning information on him. The sender of the letter threatened to make public the CD if he was not paid the money.

Significantly, Kalmadi never reported the matter to police. Even on Friday, he parried questions by CBI officials on the blackmail threat.

CBI sources told TOI that the raiding party had found a badly damaged CD which, it is suspected, was sought to be broken into pieces. The agency was trying to put the pieces together.

With Kalmadi being coy about the letter, CBI is taking the letter "at its face value", and is trying to verify the content of the unsigned letter. The CBI had on Friday raided Kalmadi's residences and offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, two months after the sporting extravaganza leaving a trail of allegations of financial irregularities in awarding of some contracts.

CBI sources had said key files containing information on tendering, budgetary allocation and contract details are missing from the OC office.

Although Kalmadi has denied the charge of destruction of evidence, claiming that the files the agency was looking for could be either with the Enforcement Directorate or the Comptroller and Auditor General, that has not cleared CBI's suspicions about that crucial files have been made to disappear.

Given this, agency officials found it puzzling that the blackmail letter was lying there to be found. Kalmadi could not be contacted despite several attempts. His trusted aide, Lalit Bhanot, however, denied any knowledge of the letter. "He never told me about it,'' said the Secretary General of the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games.

The agency has so far filed three FIRs in connection with the alleged irregularities in CWG and searched the residences of OC director-general V K Verma and secretary-general Lalit Bhanot on November 30. While one case relates to a Rs 107-crore deal struck with a Swiss score-keeping firm, the agency had registered two other FIRs in connection with the contract given to AM Films for the Queen's Baton Relay ceremonies in London.

The CBI had arrested the joint director-general of OC, T S Darbari, deputy director-general Sanjay Mohindroo and former treasurer Jeyachandran for their alleged complicity in the deals.


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Title: CWG Scam: On Kalmadi Swoop, CBI Unearths Blackmail Note

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