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Organizers of India's Commonwealth Games Face Corruption Allegations

  • Anjana Pasricha

India is preparing to host the Commonwealth Games in October – a sporting event involving 71 nations. But the upcoming event is mired in allegations of corruption.

In the Indian capital, New Delhi, organizers of the Commonwealth Games are racing against time to get stadiums, other venues and sports facilities ready for the event to be held from October 3 - 14. New Delhi's roads and other infrastructure are being spruced up.

It is the biggest sporting event India will host in nearly 30 years, and was meant to showcase a rising and resurgent country.

But in recent days, the Commonwealth Games have become embroiled in controversy.

Financial irregularities

The government's auditor has held the organizing body responsible for financial irregularities, loss of revenue and overpayments in over a dozen projects related to the Games. The anti-corruption watchdog has also highlighted concerns regarding several projects.

Many projects have missed deadlines, and concerns have been voiced about shoddy work at new stadiums.

Three senior officials of the organizing committee of the Games have been suspended over allegations of graft involving the Queen's Baton Relay in London.

The widening corruption charges have rocked parliament as angry lawmakers have demanded that the government investigate any fraud, and sack the head of the organizing committee.

Government stance

India's Sports Minister M.S. Gill has promised action against the guilty.

He says the government will probe all charges of corruption and conduct an inquiry into all allegations being made. He says nothing will be hidden.

But the minister has appealed to the lawmakers and people to keep the focus on hosting the games successfully, saying that national prestige is at stake.

Gill says the "searchlight" should be turned to the players who will participate in the Games. He says India's reputation must be upheld.

Organizing committee stance

The Organizing Committee of the Commonwealth Games has denied all charges of irregularities, and has vowed to stage a successful event. It says preparations have been made to receive two million tourists as well as nearly 10,000 athletes and officials from other countries.

But with corruption allegations continuing to dominate media headlines, questions are being raised whether the event has lost some of its sheen even before it has begun.