New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has constituted a ministerial panel, headed by Defence Minister A K Antony, to examine the findings of the Shunglu Committee that probed alleged irregularities in conduct of the Commonwealth Games here last year.

The Group of Ministers, set up last week, has been asked to consider the responses of the Union Ministries, the Delhi government and its various agencies to the findings of the high-level committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu.

The Shunglu Committee has so far submitted six reports on the Commonwealth Games to the government.

The GoM has been asked to recommend the course of action on each of the recommendations of the committee, which would include disciplinary, criminal and civil action against persons/agencies/contractors indicated in the reports.

The ministerial panel has also been asked to recommend policies and guidelines for future conduct of similar events. The Prime Minister had on October 25 last year appointed the Shunglu committee to investigate all alleged irregularities in executing various projects by several government agencies during the Games held between October 3-14 last year.

By mid-July, the PMO had received a number of documents as ministers' defense against findings of the Shunglu Committee.

Delhi government and Central Public Works department had gone public to reject the Shunglu panel findings saying the conclusions were not based on facts.

Besides Antony, the GoM has HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma as members. Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy is a special invitee. The GoM has been asked to submit its report in three months.

Congress defends Dikshit

Meanwhile, the Congress party came out in defence of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, whose government has been indicted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for irregularities in the Commonwealth Games.

The party took this decision after a meeting of the Congress core group, attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other top leaders.

Janardan Dwivedi, a member of the four-member high-level team which is to oversee party affairs during the absence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, said the case of Dikshit and former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, who resigned recently following his indictment in a mining scam by the Lokayukta, cannot be compared.

“The report (CAG) says that in some heads money was overspent and it could have been saved. It is not as big that it can be compared to Yeddyurappa or someone else,” Dwivedi said after the core group meeting.

The party will not readily succumb to the demand of the BJP, a party leader who did not wish to be identified, said, adding that the party will put its weight behind the Chief Minister inside and outside the Parliament, 'at least at the initial stage', he added.

The party is also awaiting the return of Rahul Gandhi, general secretary, who is abroad attending to party Chief Sonia Gandhi who is recuperating after a surgery.

Besides Manmohan Singh, the meeting was attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister AK Antony, Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel, party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi and other leaders.

BJP seeks Sheila's resignation

The BJP president, Nitin Gadkari, called for the resignation of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit after the government auditor indicted her government for irregularities in the Commonwealth Games.

“The BJP demands that Dikshit should resign immediately. She has no right to continue as the chief minister when the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) has raised the issues regarding irregularities in award of contracts, supply of inferior equipment, delay in awarding contracts leading to escalation of expenditure (for the Commonwealth Games),” Gadkari said.

Gadkari was in Guwahati for a 'chintan-baithak' (introspective meet) of the party over the recent assembly elections in which the BJP put up a bad performance.

“When the Lokayukta report in Karnataka indicted Yeddyurappa the Congress demanded his resignation,” Gadkari said.

“CAG is a statutory authority. When in its report it makes one responsible for irregularities, then that person should resign forthwith,” he added.

Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy, in New Delhi, accused the Congress of protecting those involved in corruption. “Corruption cannot have two standards for two people,” Rudy said, referring to Yeddyurappa and Dikshit.

JPN/Agencies

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