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Politics behind Delhi Games corruption claims: Aussie chief

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-08-02 02:34:54

SYDNEY: Australia`s top Commonwealth Games official said Monday he suspects the New Delhi Games have become a political football in India amid claims of corruption in the construction of facilities.

With barely two months to go before the Games start in October, the sporting extravaganza has been caught up in a flood of charges of rampant corruption as costs soar.

Indian press have reported all building certificates inspected so far were fake or suspect, a claim the Indian head of the organising committee for the Delhi Games, Suresh Kalmadi, has dismissed as "baseless allegations of corruption".

An Indian anti-corruption body reported on Friday it had found a host of problems with construction work, including use of poor quality materials and dubious contracts.

Perry Crosswhite, the chief executive of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA), said he suspects political motives could be behind the allegations.

"It looks like the parties and the government there are having a go at each other and no doubt everybody has got their little axe to grind," Crosswhite told reporters on Monday.

"These things tend to happen before these types of events -- the blame game happens.

"And then, generally, the Games come along, they`re very successful and everybody then tries to take the credit afterwards.

"I have been involved in a number of these things and that is what tends to happen.

"It`s very hard for me to comment on all this stuff about corruption and whether building certificates have been given and all the rest of it because I just don`t know and I think it`s just an internal matter anyway."

The event involving 71 nations is already the costliest Commonwealth Games in history, with an infrastructure and organising budget of two billion dollars, although unofficial estimates say the cost will be at least triple.

Monsoon rain in Delhi has also hampered the completion of Games infrastructure.

"Our view is that it`s going to be tight but they will meet the deadline," Crosswhite said.

BDST: 1042 HRS, AUGUST 02, 2010

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