Disband BBMP if it cannot manage its accounts: HC

Disband BBMP if it cannot manage its accounts: HC

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday asked the State government why won’t they disband the BBMP and appoint an administrator, if the Palike cannot manage its own accounts. 

While hearing the PIL filed by Namma Bengaluru Foundation seeking directions to conduct a comprehensive financial audit of BBMP from 2011 till 2015, a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice S K Mukherjee and Justice Ravi Malimath made these observations.

During the hearing, the petitioner's counsel said that many BBMP officials have created their personal bank accounts to collect property taxes, and in many accounts the opening and the closing balances have not been mentioned. The audit report stated that the BBMP was operating more than 600 bank accounts, there was a need to maintain a cash book for each bank account, but cash book was not maintained as prescribed. Being the IT Capital of India, Bengaluru has not been chosen for the Smart City project on account of these shortcomings in governance and the various scams reported in the BBMP and other urban local bodies.

In the previous audit report, the discrepancies in the functioning of the BBMP was mentioned but the Palike officials have failed to take action and rectify the problems, the counsel said. 

The petitioner has stated that the engineer-in-chief of the Palike has repeatedly failed to get the accounts audited since 2010-2011.

The petitioner has sought appropriate legal action, including criminal prosecution against errant officials, whose actions have resulted in non-conduct of financial audit of the BBMP. The petitioner has also sought directions to Comptroller and Auditor General to conduct the audit of BBMP accounts.  The bench ordered notice to the government and directed it to file its objections and adjourned the hearing till January 27.

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