Was Chidambaram aware of CWG irregularities?

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New Delhi, Jul 4: I wrote several letters to former finance Minister, P Chidambaram, on the fraudulent appropriation of funds meant for the commonwealth games, said Mani Shankar Aiyar, former sports minister.

The ex-sports minister blamed Chidambaram and said that he never acknowledged back to him on the same.

"I don't know that these letters went to the finance minister at all," said Aiyar to CNN-IBN. "But after one meeting of the group of ministers, where my insistence on observing the general financial rules (GFR) was overruled by the finance minister himself, I did write to Chidambaram."

Aiyar also requested that the Finace Minister release all the funds instead of the Sports Ministry doing the same.

"In that letter, I did say because I was so upset with the situation that instead of the sports ministry being asked to release these grants in violation of the GFR to Suresh Kalmadi-led Organising Committee , why not the finance ministry itself does it?" he said.

"And to the best of my memory, I may be wrong here, that letter was neither acknowledged nor acted upon," he said and added that he also asked that the preparations for the games be seen by the ministerial group.

"I think, you know, we must also remember that there was a group of people who were supervising all this. It was chaired by the late Arjun Singh, it included a number of ministers," he said.

"My memory is, it was chaired by the human resource development minister and included the information and broadcasting minister, urban development minister, Planning Commission deputy chairman and the finance minister, besides himself," he said.

"So this was the group to which I had taken in detail what my concerns were," he said, recollecting the fact that the then minister Prithiviraj Chauhan warned him that he should be careful while releasing the funds for the Commonwealth games.

"Well, in fact I was tipped off to the need to ensure that sanctions of authority were properly given by my immediate predecessor who was Sri Prithviraj Chauhan. He was the one who tipped me off within weeks of my becoming minister that something was rotten and that it was in my own best interest that I should check out what was happening," he said.

"So I'm grateful to him for that. My secretary was a gentleman who was not in the public eye at that time, but has since gone renowned as one of the most able and honest Chief Election Commissioner we've ever had, that was S.Y. Quraishi and he shared all my concerns," he added.

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