Apparently acting on the persistent plea of the sports ministry, the Commonwealth Games organising committee (OC) today terminated the services of its tainted joint director-general T S Darbari, who had been suspended last week. The close aide of OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi has been told to hand charge to additional director-general (PSUs, marketing & sponsorship) V K Saxena.
The Enforcement Directorate has also asked Darbari to appear before it to probe further the alleged financial irregularities for services provided at the Queen's Baton Relay ceremony in London last year. It is alleged that a British firm was paid an ''unreasonable amount'' for a variety of services without a legal contract or other form of written agreement. Darbari was in charge of overseeing the London preparations.
"The ministry had written several letters to the OC asking for his ouster because of the cases in Enforcement Directorate. The last such communication was made on 6 August. The ministry was not happy that he was merely suspended," a source told news agency PTI.
According to OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi, Darbari oversaw the baton relay preparations in London, which became the focal point of a corruption storm following revelations that a little-known UK-based firm, A M Films, was paid lakhs of pounds for its services during the event. Later, an e-mail from the Indian High Commission which Kalmadi made public to justify payments to AM Films also turned out to be doctored, forcing OC to launch a probe into the entire episode.
Although the OC probe report is yet to come out, the sports ministry had been demanding Darbari's removal ever since his name figured in a customs violation case earlier.
The authorities in London have already begun a probe into the firm and had contacted the Indian High Commission, which then forwarded the details to the sports ministry in New Delhi for action. The ministry then asked Kalmadi on 1 August to immediately relieve Darbari of all duties.
The OC suspended Darbari and joint director-general (accounts and finance) M Jaychandran on 5 August for their alleged links to the Queen's Baton Relay irregularities. Deputy director general Sanjay Mohindroo was also suspended, though the OC said he had quit his post several months ago. (See: Queen Elizabeth ''furious'' over games corruption: report)