The Melbourne-based company Sports Marketing And Management (SMAM) is finding itself caught up in the growing criticism in India of the planning for the Delhi Commonwealth Games. With doubts being raised about whether facilities will be ready for the beginning of contests on October 3, the Indian Government’s Enforcement Directorate, a body charged with combating unlawful foreign currency transactions and money laundering, reportedly has SMAM under scrutiny.
After the Times of Indiareported yesterday that an initial probe by the Enforcement Directorate revealed that SMAM has so far failed to get any advertisements, besides those pledged by Indian government instrumentalities, the Australian company issued a statement saying “SMAM has always operated in full conformity with applicable laws and regulations and any insinuation about inappropriate or unlawful activities is completely unfounded and without substance”.
With the Games degenerating into “contractor wealth games” and details of under-the-table deals triggering public outrage, theEconomic Times reported that the governing Congress Party on Tuesday attempted to distance itself from its MP and the chairman of the organising committee, Suresh Kalmadi.
Although the unease in the government is growing over the way the organising committee has been cutting deals, there is recognition that an intervention at this late stage may not be practical. But the government leadership on Tuesday dropped clear hints that it would go after those who made a fast buck from the sports event. They also said that it would strengthen the government’s resolve to cleanse the various sports association of politicians. As many as 17 sports bodies in the country are headed by politicos.