Three City MLAs favoured BBMP contractors: CAG

Three City MLAs favoured BBMP contractors: CAG

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has indicted three MLAs of Bangalore city – two of the Congress and one BJP – for tampering estimates for road works to favour contractors in their respective constituencies.

The apex auditor has dug out large-scale irregularities in implementation of road and drain related projects by the BBMP.

In its report on “Local Bodies for the year ended March 31, 2011” tabled in the Legislative Council on Friday, the CAG has said MLAs of Dasarahalli, Shantinagar and Sarvagnanagar divisions of the BBMP had urged the Palike commissioner to take up road works at a specified amount indicated against each work.

“Even before the estimates were prepared, tenders were called for by the divisional executive engineers for the amounts indicated by the representatives. Evidently, the control mechanism for preparation of estimates such as survey, condition of the road, items of works required etc., was ignored,” the report stated.

The CAG, however, did not name the MLAs. The three BBMP divisions come under Assembly constituencies of Dasarahalli, Shantinagar and Sarvagnanagar are represented by S Muniraju of the BJP, N A Haris and K J George of the Congress respectively. The report has also not mentioned the financial loss the BBMP has incurred due the alleged misdeeds of MLAs.

As per the rule book, the divisional engineer prepares a detailed estimate, supported by complete details such as schedule of all items, quantities, rates, cost, drawings, rate analysis and measurement details for each work and obtain technical sanction from the competent authority. This is done to ensure that the proposal is structurally sound and economical. Tenders can be called only after obtaining the sanction, the report said.

Government’s reply

The government has replied to the CAG, stating that “no tenders were called without preparation of estimates”.

The auditing institution rejected the government’s contention. “The reply is not tenable since instances of preparation of estimates after inviting tenders were observed by audit,” it said in the report.

The CAG has also alleged “large-scale irregularities” in sanction and execution of works. The commissioner had in March 2010 accorded illegal sanction to projects to the tune of Rs 1,910 crore sanctioned over and above Programme of Works (PoW) approved by the Administrator and the State government.

Performance review of these works revealed that there was no proper need assessment in the planning process or even considering road history.

“There was no sanctity in the approval of works as a large number of works were over and above the budgeted works,” the report stated.

D J Bhadra, Principal Accountant General, General and Social Sector Audit, said: “After having read media reports and consulting with other stakeholders like NGOs, public, members of the legislation, we took up the audit of BBMP’s road and drain works suo motu.”

The report found that the Palike did not have operational controls in place; the tendering process was vitiated and tenders were manipulated. “...Estimates were tampered with, and funds were siphoned off and Rs 223 crore was fraudulently paid on reinforced cement concrete works,” the report stated.

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