Cong steers clear of Kalmadi''s sacking

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) Congress today steered clear ofthe sacking of Suresh Kalmadi as chairman of CommonwealthGames Organising Committee, saying only the Sports Ministry,which took the decision, could explain it.

The party also indicated that there would not be anymore drastic action like explusion from the party againstKalmadi, at least for the time being. Kalmadi, a Congressmember of Lok Sabha from Pune, had also been a Union Ministerin the past.

"If Sports Ministry had taken a decision, it would bebetter that they gave the detailed information as thisconcerns their jurisdiction," party spokesperson Manish Tewaritold reporters here.

To a question on whether further action can be takenby Congress party against Kalmadi, Tewari said, "Congress hadtaken action. He was asked to resign from the post of CongressParliamentary Party Secretary immediately after the Games wereover. Moreover, Congress President Sonia Gandhi had assured ofdetailed investigations into the CWG Games and Prime MinisterManmohan Singh ordered the same immediately after Games wereover."

He said these actions were "evidence of our resolve"to fight corruption.

The party''s reaction came after Kalmadi as well as LalitBhanot were today sacked as the Chairman and Secretary Generalof of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committeerespectively in the interest of impartial and unhinderedinvestigations into allegations of corruptions in conductingthe mega event.

The decision to remove the two top officials was taken bythe new Sports Minister Ajay Maken, barely five days aftertaking charge of the ministry.

Asked why the decision was not taken when M S Gill wasSports Minister, the Congress spokesperson gave an evasivereply, saying, "Precisely for this reason when as the ministryhe has exercised his powers,...the facts, circumstances aswell as rationale will be explained by them."

When told that Maken had said that the decision was takenin the light of concerns expressed by CBI and in the interestof impartial and unhindered probe, Tewari said, "If SportsMinister has already provided rationale for the action, itsets the record straight."

Sources in Congress said that no other drastic actionlike expulsion or suspension of Kalmadi from the party islikely "unless something more serious comes up."

To another question on the upcoming press conference ofFinance Minister Pranab Mukherjee tomorrow on the issue ofblack money stashed away in foreign banks, Tewari expressedconfidence that Mukherjee would put out the entire position ofthe government on the issue.

When told about NCP leader P A Sangama''s reported demandthat all MPs should give a declaration that they do not haveany such black money in foreign banks, Tewari said,"As an MP,I for one would be more than willing to sign it." PTI AMR

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