After a pounding by the opposition, which demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee to go into allegations of corruption in the Commonwealth Games, the government said on Monday that irregularities would be inquired into "exhaustively" and the corrupt will be pursued till the "end of the earth".
It also appealed to parties, cutting across lines, to ensure that the games are held successfully.
"We all know that the Central Vigilance Commission and other constitutional bodies do their job, but if every primary observation is blown up to a scam then we cannot function. I don't say that corruption has not taken place. No one can say that. All irregularities will be inquired into exhaustively," said Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy said in a spirited intervention during a debate on the games in Lok Sabha.
He said some people took the position that a country like India, which has a lot of poverty, should not have hosted the Commonwealth Games.
"Though I beg to differ from them, I respect their ideological position. But with only a month left, this should not be raised."
He debunked claims of leaders like Samajwadi party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav that Rs 1 lakh crore had been used for the games, saying, "We are living in some system. Such claims are made with absolute abandon. By no stretch of imagination can it be held as true. It does not speak well of our maturity."
Reddy said a total of Rs 28,054 crore have been spent on the games out of which Rs 16,560 crore was given to the Delhi government for upgrading the capital infrastructure and building of various stadia.
The Bharatiya Janata Party and other parties in the opposition, Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Janata Dal (United) and Left Parties, demanded a JPC into the Games spending.
Sharad Yadav of the JD (U) said, "This (management of Commonwealth Games 2010) is no longer in the hands of either central or Delhi government."
Yadav demanded that an inquiry should be initiated immediately into charges of corruption against the ogranising committee managing the mega event, as the case would be diluted once the games are over.
RJD leader Lalu Prasad said, "Each penny should be accounted for. A parliamentary committee should be formed to inquire into the allegations."
Kirti Azad of the BJP, who initiated the debate, referred to the recommendations of the CVC and said several government departments have been charged with irregularities.
He criticised various departments for cost escalations to the tune of 513 percent.
Azad said despite setting up of an empowered committee on January 29, 2005 to oversee the preparations, several irregularities have come to the notice.
"Is the committee ignorant of the corruption or has it preferred to turn a blind eye... Who is responsible?" he asked.
BJP MP Anurag Thakur demanded that a JPC should be set to probe the charges of corruption. Reddy said, of the total of money given to the Delhi government, only Rs 670 crore had been spent directly on the games -- that on building the stadia.
"The rest of the money has been spent on the infrastructure development of the capital, which is not directly linked to the games," he said.
Giving a break-up of the money spent, the minister said the Delhi government had spent on various projects which includes Rs 650 crore for street scaping, Rs 900 crore for development bus depots, Rs 3,000 crore for extension of the Metro, Rs 18,000 crore for augmenting the DTC bus services and Rs 3,700 crore on flyovers and bridges.
In the Rs 11,494 crore spent by the centre, Rs 2,934 was spent on sports infrastructure, Rs 678 crore on training of teams, Rs 182 crore has been given to MTNL, Rs 827.85 crore has been given to the ministry of urban development, Rs 487.57 to the information and broadcasting ministry and Rs 747 crore to the health ministry.
Reddy said the government had also given Rs 2,394 crore as loan to the organising committee, which is to be returned by them after the games.
Defending the huge amount of money spent, he said most of the money has been spent on infrastructure development, which will remain as the country's legacy long after the games are over.
"If you furnish and paint your house before your daughter's wedding, then the money spent on that cannot be said to be part of the dowry," he quipped.
Reddy asked all parties to support to make the Games a success.
"All of us cutting across party lines, should rise to make the games a successful and spectacular."
"I, therefore, say with confidence that we would be staging the best Commonwealth Games in history.
Reassuring the House that the projects will be ready before the games, he said, "The event can be organised even now."