PUBLISHED: 00:08 GMT, 19 February 2013 | UPDATED: 00:08 GMT, 19 February 2013
The CBI has done it again. Its probe into the high-profile CWG scam, dubbed as one of the biggest loots of public money in recent times, is going nowhere as the agency has not been able to find any evidence to prosecute government officials allegedly involved in the Rs 8,000 crore swindle.
While top officials of the CWG organising committee – Suresh Kalmadi and Lalit Bhanot – are facing the heat, officials of the Sheila Dikshit-led Delhi government may soon be cleared of the scam.
The CBI had registered 18 cases for alleged irregularities committed in organising the games, but has filed charge-sheets in only four of them. In three other cases, the agency has recommended closure.
Sources said closure reports are likely to be filed in six other cases as well. Most of the cases relating to city infrastructure are likely to be closed.
The CBI is preparing to give a clean chit to the government officials despite the Prime Minister- appointed Shunglu Committee, which was looking into the CWG scam, recommending criminal action against them for their alleged involvement in misappropriation of funds.
The Shunglu Committee had made scathing observations against the Delhi government, stating that a delay in decision making led to huge losses.
Inflated cost estimates without competitive bidding, poorly-conceived projects giving undue benefit to contractors, and also suspected instances of cartelisation all indicate massive corruption.
But the CBI probe suggests that the government officials got a raw deal from the committee. According to the agency, the committee had held officials responsible without taking their version into consideration.
While the CBI agrees that there were irregularities in many projects, it hasn’t found any incriminating evidence against the officials. Sources said it would be wrong to prosecute the officials because there were delays on part of the organising committee which meant deadlines had to be met at all expense.
“We will recommend departmental action against officials but prosecution is not possible due to lack of evidence,” said a CBI officer.
Defending the CBI probe, CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said: “Investigations in most of these cases are on. Unless a closure report is filed in court it would be incorrect to say that the cases have been closed. While the agency works hard to ensure prosecution of the accused, protecting innocent people is also important.”