New Delhi: In a series of startling disclosures, a suspended senior official of the organizing committee (OC) of the Commonwealth Games has alleged that Sanjay Mohindroo, the deputy director general and OC boss Suresh Kalmadis key aide, had tried to appropriate over Rs 22 lakh from the funds meant for the Queen's Baton relay inauguration in London last October, reports Times of India.
M Jeychandren, joint director general (finance & accounts), one of the three officials suspended because of the controversy surrounding payoffs to AM Films, has made several startling claims in his defence in a private letter to Kalmadi, a copy of which is with TOI.
The story that Jeychandren's letter tells is one of splurge and sleaze -- with Kalmadi's one-time blue-eyed boy Mohindroo splurging money in London while ostensibly organizing the baton relay function, and when questioned by Jeychandren about his reimbursement for GBP 32,596 (Rs 22 lakh) which he claimed to have spent from his pocket, quietly settled for just GBP 2,366.
But that marked the beginning of travails for Jeychandren. He submitted a detailed financial statement of the accounts of expenditure for the London event of October 29, 2009 to the OC in December. But till date, an amount of 65,000 pounds is outstanding against him.
The OC secretary general, Lalit Bhanot, Kalmadi's spokesman now, refused to sign it, even though every other official had cleared it. And now Jeychandren has been suspended without being given an opportunity to give his side of the story.
When contacted by TOI, Bhanot said, "Yes, I did send back the file (giving the London accounts of Jeychandren), but I don't remember why."
There are more damning disclosures in the letter written by Jeychandren to Kalmadi. He says that both he and Mohindroo were authorized to carry GBP 65,000 on debit cards as advance for payments in London.
But when he was in London, both Kalmadi and CEOJarnail Singh asked him to return urgently because of several pending tenders, proposals etc. Before leaving London, when he was in the process of finalizing payments, the final invoices of AM Car & Van Hire Company were not forthcoming from Mohindroo, after approval from T S Darbari, alleges Jeychandren.
"When things were getting delayed and the demand from OC headquarter for my return with immediate effect was made, I had no other option but to leave the task of settling the final payment to AM Car & Van Hire Company, with the approval of Jt DG (Darbari) as per their invoices and according to the rates which were approved by HCI (High Commission of India) to DDG (Mohindroo)," he says.
When he was leaving, Jeychandran says, "in good faith, (I) decided to leave the official debit card issued to me with the remaining balance of GBP 59,323, which was available in the official debit card entrusted to me, to DDG (Mohindroo) so that he could make payment on site at London against final invoice with the approval of Jt DG (Darbari)."
On their return from London, Jeyachandren had been following up with both Darbari and Mohindroo for submission of due accounts. In fact, Darbari had a number of unadjusted advances standing against his name at that time.
And after much cajoling, Mohindroo brought a bundle of vouchers in a completely disorganized manner. While it was being tabulated Darbari "was breathing down our neck and threatening to take the matter to chairman's notice if the job is not done immediately. In the circumstances, the complete accounts were compiled post haste," Jeychandren says.
It was at this stage Jeychandren claims to have caught out Mohindroo trying to pocket around Rs 22 lakh by claiming to have spent it from his pocket in London.
TOI is in possession of a two-page note put up by Mohindroo for reclaiming GBP 32,596.50. According to the note on the adjustment of advance given to Mohindroo for his visit to London: "An advance/Money transferred of GBP 1,27,930.40 has been given to Mr Sanjay Mohindroo for his visit to London regarding QBR launch. Now he has submitted expenditure detail of GBP 1,60,526.90."
Mohindroo claims that he had spent GBP 1,33,337.64 on transportation etc of QBR launch team, GBP 26,910.68 on other incidentals, and lists GBP 278.58 as bank charges. The note says the "excess expenditure of GBP 32,596.50 is stated to have been paid by Mohindroo out of his own funds".
In response, Jeychandren wrote, "Does it mean that Sh Mohindroo spent an amount of Rs 22.80 lakh out of his own funds in UK?" There was no response to this.
In a hand-written note to CEO of the OC, Jarnail Singh on August 6, Jeychandren had sought to be heard. And the CEO personally noted that "we may give him an opportunity". But he was not heard. When asked about it, OC secretary general Bhanot said, "He has given his representation. The CEO will hear him, he is handling the issue."