CWG scam: CBI arrests Bhanot, Verma (Second Lead)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NEW DELHI - Lalit Bhanot and V.K. Verma, the two deputies of Suresh Kalmadi who played a key role in organising the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG), were arrested Wednesday by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that is probing alleged financial irregularities in the run-up to the sporting extravaganza, the agency said.

“We have arrested the secretary general and director general of the organizing committee of the CWG today (Wednesday). They would be presented in a special CBI court tomorrow (Thursday),” CBI spokesperson Vinita Thakur said.

Bhanot and Verma have been sports administrators for over a quarter of a century and were the secretary general and director general of the CWG organising committee respectively. Kalmadi, a Congress member of the Lok Sabha was the chairperson.

The three were sacked last month after Ajay Maken took over as the new sports minister in a cabinet reshuffle replacing M.S. Gill.

Bhanot and Verma were arrested after they were summoned to the CBI headquarters here Wednesday and subjected to questioning for hours, sources said.

Both have been arrested for irregularities in a Rs.1.07 billion ($37 million) contract with a Swiss company for time-keeping equipment during the Oct 3-14, 2010 Games, Thakur said.

The investigative agency had quizzed Kalmadi Jan 5 and carried out searches at his premises in Delhi, Pune and Mumbai while the homes and offices Bhanot and Verma were raided Nov 30, 2010.

Verma was also questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) last October for his alleged role in the financial irregularities in the Queen’s Baton Relay event in London in 2009.

Four close aides of Kalmadi - T.S. Darbari, the joint director general (revenue, marketing and chairman secretariat) in the OC and Sanjay Mahendroo, the deputy director general (marketing) - were arrested Nov 15, 2010, M. Jayachandran, joint director (finance), was arrested Nov 21 and Shekhar Deorukhkar, Kalmadi’s officer on special duty was arrested Feb 11.

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