A Delhi court Thursday sent Lalit Bhanot and V.K. Verma, former high ranking officials of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee, to five days’ CBI custody in connection with financial lapses in a contract with a Swiss company.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Talwant Singh sent the OC’s former secretary general Bhanot and former director general Verma to the probe agency’s custody till March 1.
The CBI in its plea sought seven days’ custody of Bhanot and Verma, against whom it has lodged first information reports (FIRs) for criminal conspiracy and cheating and for violating sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
“Accused persons entered into criminal conspiracy to cheat the government in the manner of awarding contract for timing, scoring and result system to be acquired for the CWG,” said the investigative agency.
“The accused officials of the Organising Committee in conspiracy with others, by abusing their official positions, awarded the contract to Swiss timing company at exorbitant rates of Rs.1.07 billion, in a most wrongful manner, restricting all competitors, and thereby caused huge loss to the government of India and corresponding wrongful gain to the company,” the CBI said.
The court allowed both Bhanot and Verma to have home-cooked food on health grounds.
Defence counsel opposed the CBI application, saying the FIRs against them were based on sources and sources were not always right.
“Media is just highlighting the case and after some time things will clear and you all will get to know the real fact,” Verma told reporters before the hearing.
Speaking before being brought to court, Bhanot said: “We have not done anything wrong. All the decisions were taken collectively by the board and the truth will be out. Media has hyped the matter and I never expected this.”
The CBI Wednesday arrested Verma and Bhanot, who was a key aide of OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi, for irregularities to the tune of Rs.1.07 billion ($23 million) in a contract with the Swiss company for time-keeping equipment for the Oct 3-14, 2010, mega event.