New Delhi: Cornered Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi on Friday refused to step down despite widescale corruption allegations against OC, insisting that he might consider such a move only after the event if asked to by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"I am not thinking about resigning. The investigation is on. I am not quitting. We are doing a great job," Kalmadi told reporters at the OC headquarters while unveiling the medals for the October 3 to 14 event here.
In an interview to a TV channel earlier in the day, Kalmadi had hinted at resigning if asked by the Prime Minister, Congress President Sonia Gandhi or the Indian Olympic Association, which he heads.
But Kalmadi said such a possibility existed only after the Games.
"There is no question of it. Post the Games, if Mrs Gandhi and Mr Manmohan Singh and IOA want me to quit then only I would quit. Everything is going fine. The whole team is working day and night to make the Games a success," he insisted.
The corruption allegations began with a Central Vigilance Commission report which pointed out financial bunglings in handing of construction and other contracts.
Kalmadi faced more embarrassment when he made public 'doctored' e-mails from the Indian High Commission to justify payments worth lakhs of pounds to a UK-based company for services provided during the Queen's Baton Relay in London..
Organising Committee's Joint Director General T S Darbari, who oversaw the QBR's London leg, was suspended after the furore.
A three-member probe panel is currently investigating the matter after the Ministry of External Affairs revealed that the e-mails were 'doctored' to add the UK-based A M Films name as a recommended company for car rentals and other services.
Despite the damaging allegations, Kalmadi said, "We are doing a great job."
"The CVC report has come and technical officials have given a preliminary report and it is true that some of the stadiums are still to be ready and Mr (Mike) Fennell (Commonwealth Games Federation chief) has also made some observations about that. There is concern but while we are taking over stadiums, we are making sure that things are alright," he said.
"In case they are not, we are asking the handlers to give in writing that they will be ok within a certain span of time," he added.
Earlier in the TV interview, Kalmadi said he was probably misled by close aide Darbari as far as the High Commission e-mails were concerned.
"I asked Darbari to show me the e-mails and he showed me those e-mails. It could be that I was misled. I am not a technocrat to know if they were genuine. The (probe) committee will look into all this and tell," he said.
"The Ministry gave me a different e-mail. I said I am not a technological expert. They didn't mention doctored or forged. They just said one line is different. Whether they were forged, we would know only after the inquiry," Kalmadi said.
Kalmadi, nonetheless, defended Darbari insisting that the tainted official had worked well while in office.
"Darbari has a lot of business to take care of but he has done his job. He is an efficient officer. He has been very helpful," he said.
But the OC chairman said he would not protect Darbari if he is found guilty in the QBR financial irregularities case.
"If I see some financial irregularities, I am not going to protect one person. There is no letter which states that Darbari is a culprit in that (customs case). There is an inquiry going on and the moment the inquiry is over, I will tell you," he said.
As the Games approach, Kalmadi also gave an estimate of how many medals the Indian athletes would win on home turf.
"Last time we got 50 medals and we came fourth. This time we will at least finish third but if we perform well, we might even take the second spot in the overall tally," he said.
'Training is on in all places. Some teams have also gone outside the country. The OC is taking over stadiums and once the preparations are complete, the athletes can come and practice here. The government has given Rs 700 crore for training of athletes which would be reflected in the number of medals we win," he added.
Talking of athletes, star air rifle shooter Gagan Narang is threatening to skip the Games after being ignored for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award but Kalmadi said he would talk him out of it.
"I tried to call Gagan in the morning. I want to talk to him and tell him to get a gold at the CWG and win the Khel Ratna next time," he said.
On the security concerns raised by international athletes, Kalmadi said their viewpopint has changed for the better in the past few weeks.
"Initially security was a major issue. The perspective at that time was problems in India, even Pakistan and Bangladesh. Now the CGF security has been coming regularly and they are happy with it," he said. PTI