Dehli Games officials in police custody

00:10, Feb 25 2011

Two Commonwealth Games officials are in police custody over suspected corruption.

Central Bureau of Investigation spokesman R.K. Gaur said Lalit Bhanot and V.K. Verma will be questioned about timing equipment they bought for last year's games in New Delhi.

A Delhi court ruled Thursday that the CBI could keep the men in custody for five days.

The CBI, India's equivalent of the FBI, arrested the two men on Wednesday on charges of conspiracy and cheating while buying equipment for the games, which were in New Delhi in October.

The CBI has accused the two officials of causing a huge loss to the Indian government by paying 1.07 billion rupees ($NZ31 million) to Swiss Timings Ltd. for a timing, scoring and result system that was available at a much cheaper rate from another company.

"The court has remanded the two men for five days to CBI custody," Gaur said.

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India had hoped to boost its international reputation as an emerging economic power by hosting the Commonwealth Games. However, the event was overshadowed by allegations of corruption, construction delays and cost overruns which caused major embarrassment to the country.

After the games, the government started to go after organizing committee officials whom it holds responsible for mismanagement and corruption after the cost of hosting the event ballooned from the original estimated $412 million to around $15 billion.

In December, the CBI arrested three organizing committee officials, accusing them of forgery and cheating over the awarding of games-related contracts.

Media reports say the CBI is closing in on Commonwealth Games organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, who was fired from his job last month following allegations of corruption.

AP