After Australia, it is now the turn of the UK to threaten a row over the holding back of a payment Rs96 crore owed by public broadcaster Prasar Bharti to Britain's SIS live for the broadcast of the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Earlier the A K Shunglu committee, set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to look into irregularities in conduct of Commonwealth Games, had prima facie found wrong-doings in the contract worth Rs246 crore signed by Prasar Bharti with SIS Live for telecast of the CWG in October last, and asked the information and broadcasting ministry to hold back outstanding payments to SIS.
This has provoked a strong reaction from British high commissioner to India Richard Stagg. "SIS Live fulfilled its contractual obligations, against which all payments should have been made by now. The company is owed Rs 96 crore," Stagg said, a day after Australia raised with India the matter of unpaid bills of Australian firms for their work during the Oct 3-14 Games.
Stagg said that SIS Live was "a leading British broadcaster with over 70 years' experience of covering major international sporting events. SIS Live's coverage of the Delhi Commonwealth Games was widely praised as first-class".
The development comes even as new sports minister Ajay Maken issued directions to the games organising committee to pay all "legitimate" dues related to the Commonwealth Games.
Hailing the SIS coverage, Stagg said, "The quality of the production captured the very essence of the spectacular opening and closing ceremonies and the games themselves. It provided great enjoyment for Indian and international audiences alike."