A special audit of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has found misappropriation of funds worth several hundred crores of rupees in the autonomous council of Assam.
The audit report which was tabled before the council and Governor of Assam recently, revealed that funds sent by Central government through North East Council (NEC) and Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-plan were not serving the intended purpose.
The report also unearthed glaring instances of fund embezzlement by officers in various departments, besides avoidable and wasteful expenditure, indicating a nexus between the BTC members, suppliers and contractors.
In some cases, the specifications of articles procured were neither specified in supply order nor recorded in files, the report maintained, adding that the council did not maintain actual payees’ receipts for distribution articles procured.
Some major findings of the report are as under:
• The chief of Bodoland Territorial Council incurred unauthorised expenditure of Rs 180.33 crore during 2010-11 to 2013-14.
• BTC, instead of providing cash benefit, distributed various materials worth Rs 35.16 crore among beneficiaries under the National Social Assistance Programme in violations of set guidelines.
• Under Member of Council Legislative Assembly Area Development Scheme, 195 admissible works involving expenditure of Rs 293.42 lakh were sanctioned and executed by BTC during 2008-09 to 2012-13 in violation of guidelines.
• Out of Rs 12 crore earmarked for implementation Family Oriented Income Generating Scheme, Rs 7.97 crore was diverted by the BTC during 2008-09, for other purposes beyond the scope of scheme.
• Expenditure of Rs 2.74 crore, towards free tractorisation of 27368 bighas of land of the riot affected families of Chirang and Kokrajhar, was made by the BTC, which included fraudulent payment of Rs 94.28 lakh to the alleged owners of the tractors.
• BTC also diverted fund for Welfare of Plain Tribes and Backward Class for implementing the schemes on animal husbandry activities to procure tent house at exorbitant prices. The Government of India had laid down norms for utilising these funds that tribal populace below the poverty line should alone be supported with this fund but CAG could not find any record in this regard to ascertain the actual beneficiary.
• BTC incurred an expenditure of Rs 2.95 crore on the purchase of 52,510 school bags beyond the scope of Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) guidelines.
• BTC under supplementary nutrition programme of ICDS procured Britannia Marie Gold biscuit at the cost of Rs 45 per packet, which was almost double than the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of Rs 27.
• The BTC also procured 824 piece of HP Laser Jet P-1108 printers at the rate of Rs 11950 each whereas the MRP of these printers was Rs 6599 only.
• Procurement of 8576 fire extinguishers, without consulting rates from manufacturers/authorised dealers resulted in extra expenditure of Rs 4.78 crore.