The probe to investigate large-scale corruption in the run-up to the 19th Commonwealth Games (CWG) is almost unending. It is another matter that there is no sign of convictions for this shameful episode in recent history.
On Monday, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) said it will complete its probe by the end of December. CVC’s statement came after the special investigating team—that was formed to study the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on the games—complained of non-cooperation by certain government departments. In the meantime, another group looking into a similar matter—the group of ministers (GoM) led by defence minister A.K. Antony that is examining reports presented by former CAG V.K. Shunglu—has been given an extension.
Suresh Kalmadi. Photo: Bloomberg
By all accounts, this is fast turning into another never-ending set of bureaucratic “enquiries over enquiries”. Instead of ensuring a streamlined probe, there is now a multiplicity of agencies looking into different aspects of the corruption in the games’ organization. Collating and coordinating their reports, facts and making them presentable for the judicial process will be an unenviable task. By the time the matter gets to the gates of the courts, many years will have elapsed. It is anybody’s guess what this lapse of time will do to witness availability and the reliability of evidence. It will be a wonder if any convictions come through, leave alone wrongdoers serving any time.
What went wrong? At one level, the stench of corruption in CWG was one of the factors that began the difficulties of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. That is one reason for constituting a GoM where otherwise normal, official, procedures would have been sufficient to take the matter further. The plethora of agencies looking into the matter, too, points to a similar direction. It is not as if the government is “conniving” to prevent the truth from emerging, but certainly the bureaucratic brakes are at work.
This is not going to help the government shore up its credibility. Though public memory is short in India and the games are an almost forgotten chapter, that is not the issue at hand. The issue is the inability of this government to find and punish the culprits.
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