Govt must act against huge scams unravelled by CAG: Harsh

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JAMMUGovt must act against huge scams unravelled by CAG: Harsh

Jammu;-With consecutive reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) indicating scams of gargantuan proportions having been committed in J&K during the past few years, it was shocking to note the culprits being granted immunity from any probe or punishment. Earlier, the reports of CAG used to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly for discussion and deliberations with a ‘Public Accounts Committee’ to go into the adverse findings therein and recommend punitive action against the violators of financial norms. But, unfortunately, the said system had also ceased to exist with the post Art 370 abrogation and the non-existence of legislature with the result that even the duly reported scams by the ‘National Accounting Watchdog’ were being thrown under the carpet”. This was stated by Mr Harsh Dev Singh, Chairman-JKNPP and former Minister today.

Expressing grave concern over the subsequent reports of CAG revealing financial irregularities in the working of various govt Deptts going unaddressed, Mr Harsh Dev divulged that the recently released CAG report for 2019-20 had disclosed huge scams in various Deptts particularly I&FC, R&B, PHE, School Education, Estates Deptt etc. with huge violations of “Book of Financial powers” and the “Public works code, execution of thousands of works without tenders, without the accord of AA and technical sanction; diversion of funds under PMDP amounting to several hundred crores and other financial irregularities of huge magnitude. He reminisced that in 2018-19 also, the CAG report for 2018-19 had pointed towards a suspected scam of Rs. 8,000 crore was likely to have been committed during 2017 and 2018. The CAG report has categorically castigated Education Deptt, Municipal Corporations of Jammu and Srinagar and SKUAST for the financial irregularities, which regretfully had failed to invite due attention of the powers that be, bemoaned Singh. Likewise, said Mr Singh, the CAG report of 2017-18 had revealed “fudging of more than 10,000 crores in receipts and expenditure under the minor head 8,00”. And despite the unambiguous statement of fudging coming from the then CAG Rajiv Mehrishi, the govt had failed to act because BP was a partner in the then govt.

“Not only have the govt Deptts in general been collectively charged with omissions and commissions, but the CAG had categorically indicted several individual Deptts of J&K for financial scams. In 2016, the CAG report had charged the CAPD for massive irregularities, which too failed to invite the govt’s attention to quote one instance, the CAG had ruled that the purchase committee of CAPD (then Food, civil supplies and consumer Affairs Deptt) had spent Rs. 9.23 crore extra for procurement of sugar from November 2015 to March 2016 by ignoring the lowest bidder and making payment at a higher rate. And only recently, the CAG had castigated the Education Deptt for failure in implementing the Model School Scheme for J&K, thereby rendering the provision of Rs. 44 infructuous and had directed the govt for fixation of responsibility. The J&K govt, however, failed to act in any of the said cases”, regretted Mr Singh.

It’s not only the CAG reports that have divulged scams of enormous magnitude having been committed in various govt Deptts through its test checks, but several financial scams, including reports highlighted through media and other organizations, have failed to invite the attention of the govt for proper follow-up action. There have been several reports of slipshod working, fictitious billing for nonexistent works, huge backdoor appointments, the release of payments without the accord of AA, violations of financial code, Public Works Accounts code and Book of Financial powers with authorities concerned pushing the frauds under the carpet.

Maintaining that free run enjoyed by the corrupt elements could not have been possible without patronage of helmsmen, Mr Singh lamented that the tall assurances of BJP rulers over “Corruption free system, Accountability and Transparency” too, like its other slogans, have proved to be mere Jumlas and hyperboles.(The Awam News)

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