Amita doled out Central funds to pvt agency: Rashmi

Amita doled out Central funds to pvt agency: Rashmi

 Amita Prasad, the former director general of Administrative Training Institute (ATI), not only flouted the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement (KTPP) Act by favouring a private agency but also caused loss of nearly Rs 11 lakh. 

Among the many irregularities mentioned by the incumbent director general of ATI, Rashmi V Mahesh, in a complaint to the chief secretary, the matter of Amita Prasad allegedly favouring the private agency Royal Mysore Walks for a continued period of over five years stands out. 

Rashmi has alleged that an exercise, which could have been taken up without any expenses, saw the three institutes—ATI, Abdul Nazeer Sab State Institute of Rural Development (ANSSIRD), and State Institute of Urban Development (SIUD)—doling out funds granted to them by the Centre towards paying the private agency. 

Amita Prasad had issued directions in October 2009 in favour of Royal Mysore Walks for conducting heritage walks for all trainees of ATI, ANSSIRD and SIUD. According to the circular, at a rate of Rs 150 per trainee, every trainee, was to be taken on a heritage walk by the private agency. The cost was borne by the said institutes. The circular issued in 2009 was extended every year till 2014 and in 2014 till March 2015. 

“Here, through a single circular, a private agency has been entrusted with continuous recurring work/business of more than Rs one lakh every year. The private agency has been chosen arbitrarily, the then DG has accepted their requisition letter, no tender has been floated as per the KTPP Act, and no reason for costing has been alluded to. Training funds have been en masse transferred to the agency,” Rashmi noted. 

Further, she said that the commissioner, State Archaeology, Mysore, had been regularly conducting heritage walks, and had approached the ATI requesting it to avail its services instead. 

“The walks conducted by the department access more places of tourist interest. They are free of cost, superior in quality, informative and educative. Despite several letters every year requesting the ATI to avail the services of the department by the commissioner, the then DG chose to overlook the requisition letters, causing loss of public funds released to ATI, SIRD and SIUD as plan funds. Also, the Central government training funds to the extent of Rs 10.91 lakh were transferred to the private agency arbitrarily.” 

Rashmi goes to on to add that this was not a procedural lapse on the part of Amita Prasad, but an “informed decision to wilfully favour a private agency by according it special privileges.”