The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the city government to show whether the accounts of its forest department with regard to money received for cutting down trees, was being audited by the CAG. A bench of Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar asked the government to place before it the audit report of the forest department if carried out by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) or by any external auditor.
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The court is examining how much money has been received by the forest department for giving permission to cut down trees for various development projects and how much has been refunded by the authority.
Under the rules, 50 per cent of the money received by the department for giving permission is to be refunded after five years if the person or any authority which cuts down a tree, plants 10 trees as compensatory afforestation.
“Does your internal audit by an external auditor take care of it? Does it go to the CAG,” the bench asked the forest department and said it should come with the reports on Thursday.
The court also asked the Delhi government as to what steps have been taken pursuant to its order in December last year to frame guidelines with regard to bursting of crackers during festivals.
It was hearing a PIL initiated by it on the issue of air pollution and its causes, one of which was the decline in forest and green cover in Delhi and its surrounding areas.