Police question Delhi Games chief

Police question Delhi Games chief
By Reuters

05/01/2011 at 20:33Updated 05/01/2011 at 20:40

Indian police have questioned the chief organiser of the 2010 Commonwealth Games while investigating one of the many corruption cases to plague the Congress-led coalition government.

Suresh Kalmadi, a prominent member of the Congress party, was interrogated at the offices of the Central Bureau of Investigation, India's equivalent to the FBI.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government has had little time to spare from fighting corruption allegations which have paralysed parliament and pushed policymaking into limbo.

The scandals have eroded Congress' political capital ahead of key state polls and investors are viewing them as a test of how resolute the government is in stamping down widespread graft.

The October Commonwealth Games were overshadowed by charges of inflated bills and of tenders manipulated to favour certain suppliers.

One of the allegations was that the organisers bought toilet paper at $88 a roll.

Kalmadi's homes were raided by the CBI last month and agents took away documents they said could lead to evidence of financial irregularities in the staging of the event.

He had earlier been sacked by the Congress as the secretary of its parliament group.

The Congress is also struggling to emerge from charges India lost $39 billion due to graft in the grant of telecoms licences in 2008, which forced the resignation of the telecoms minister.

The opposition has vowed to block the February budget session of parliament if a joint parliamentary committee is not formed to probe the matter, putting at risk the passage of reform bills including one to ease land acquisition for industry and mines.