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Double billing, excess salary: BBMP audit raises concerns over Rs 2,010 cr payments in 2021-22 

The report showed a steady increase in the number of audit objections and recoveries in the last four years, which also coincides with the BBMP not having an elected body since September 2020.
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 21:49 IST
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 21:49 IST

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Bengaluru: The BBMP’s in-house auditor has raised concerns about 625 payments, amounting to Rs 2,010 crore, approved by the civic body in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

This constitutes roughly a quarter of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s yearly budget.

In its report released this May, the auditing team directed the civic body to immediately reclaim up to Rs 422 crore paid to numerous private agencies by the BBMP. The team has cited serious breaches in established protocols.

The report showed a steady increase in the number of audit objections and recoveries in the last four years, which also coincides with the BBMP not having an elected body since September 2020.

For context, the auditors had raised objections to the payment of Rs 684 crore in 2018-19 and sought a recovery to the tune of Rs 114 crore in the same period.

Throughout the auditing process, objections are typically raised by auditors regarding specific payments that deviate from the standard operating procedure. However, the pursuit of recovery is reserved for instances where the violation is deemed substantially severe.

The biggest volume of recovery of Rs 112 crore was sought in the BBMP administration section, followed by roadworks (187.61 crore), revenue (Rs 93.33 crore), health (Rs 28.11 crore), and education (Rs 1.63 crore). The recovery has been sought due to non-compliance of rules prescribed in the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act (KTPP).

Violations

The auditors discovered cases of double billing, full payments for incomplete work, and failure to collect dues from advertisers when granting building plan approvals.

For example, two BBMP departments each paid Rs 1.51 crore to Raja Enterprises for identical services, simultaneously and at the same location.

The civic body also paid Rs 7.92 lakh twice to Vigneshwar Enterprises for the collection of wet waste in Padmanabhanagar. The agency, which constructed concrete drains from the Kempegowda Ground to Magadi Main Road in Kamakshipalya ward, too, received Rs 1.70 crore twice, the auditors found.

In one instance, the BBMP paid Rs 2.82 lakh excess salary to an engineer who was deputed to the Mahadevapura division. Despite being relieved from duties, the payments continued for three months.

The auditors discovered that a garbage collector received Rs 1.03 crore despite not fulfilling the contracted number of auto tipper services. Additionally, the BBMP’s traffic engineering cell overspent by Rs 66.68 lakh on asphalt mixes without proper approvals.

Not serious: BBMP boss 

BBMP Chief Commissioner Tushar Girinath said 70% of the objections are not serious.

“The officers concerned did not respond to the auditors when non-compliance was flagged. That may have been the reason for the increase in audit objections,” he said, promising to consider the complaints of fund misappropriations and loss to the BBMP exchequer.

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Published 10 June 2024, 21:49 IST

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