NEW DELHI - AN INDIAN government watchdog has received complaints of the 'huge and alarming' misappropriation of up to US$1.8 billion (S$2.36 billion) in organising the Delhi Commonwealth Games, a report said on Tuesday.

The complaints included payments to non-existent parties, deliberate delays in carrying out contracts, over-inflated prices and poor equipment purchases, the Press Trust of India said, citing a senior official from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

'The total misappropriation amount may touch a figure of 50 to 80 billion rupees (S$1.44 to S$2.36 billion) which is quiet huge and alarming,' the unnamed official told PTI.

'The Commission is still awaiting reports from various departments and cannot give the exact amount,' the official said, adding that the CVC had handed the complaints to the ministries responsible for preparations for the Games.

The Oct 3-14 event involving 71 nations was the costliest Commonwealth Games in history, with an initial organising budget of US$2 billion that was estimated to have swollen to at least three times that size.

The skyrocketing costs and highly publicised construction delays sparked intense criticism of the Games organising committee, in particular its chairman Suresh Kalmadi, a member of India's ruling Congress party.

'Huge' fund anomalies found