'Shoddy Palike records helped scamsters'

'Shoddy Palike records helped scamsters'

BMTFs investigation reveals that the accounts wing failed to monitor release of funds

The Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF), which initially investigated the multi-billion rupee fake bill scam, believes that the records were maintained shoddily to facilitate embezzlement of funds.

Going a step ahead of the Technical Vigilance Cell under the Commissioner (TVCC), which exposed the scam in three constituencies - Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Malleswaram and Gandhi Nagar, the BMTF highlighted some new irregularities and sought stringent action against the officers for maintaining the records poorly, and agitating against the BMTF.

In a letter sent to the State government in December, the Additional Director General of Police, BMTF, Dr R P Sharma, stated that the entire process of approval of work revealed “during careful investigation”, indicated very shoddy file maintenance and record-keeping, probably with a design to misappropriate funds.

Highlighting some of the investigation findings, Sharma said the date or origin of files provided by the assistant engineers was very often not found, and even signatures of the assistant engineers and the assistant executive engineer did not accompany dates. Various files indicate that the executive engineers themselves had made entry of work code numbers.

Technical bids have been approved by the chief engineer without making even the slightest cross-verification of work code orders. After the technical bid approval, tender-seeking details do not find any mention in the records.

Sharma’s letter stated, “In fact, in some places, only two potential tender participants have been seen, and no note is seen in the file with regard to the date of tender, approval of tender and the number of participants of tenders.”

He noted that the works were carried out without any supervision notes and the details of calling for tenders were missing. Limited tender participation and informal approach is indicative of a large-scale manipulation of these procedures.

Taking a dig at the accounts wing, the BMTF chief wrote that the accounts wing had failed to monitor the release of fund without obtaining completion certificates in some files.

He stressed the need to relook at the “hundi system” of accounting which creates scope for delay in the execution of work and escalation of cost. He also asked the government to allow the BBMP to borrow money based on its debt sustainability.

He noted, “Such borrowing provides artificial financial cushion, and if not purposeful, can provide scope for misuse of funds.”