THE TOP brass of UT Administration purchased sports equipment worth lakhs for their personal use from the government funds of Chandigarh Sports Council, an audit has found. An audit of the accounts of Chandigarh Sports Council from 2013 to 2016 found that sports equipment — be it motorized treadmill with an auto-incline feature, golf kits and badminton kits, track suits and joggers studs — was purchased from the council funds during the four-year period.
Following inputs of irregularities in the functioning of the council, during the said period, a special audit was ordered by the finance department last year and entrusted to the local audit department of administration wherein this fact of these purchases apart from other serious irregularities have been pointed out.
The audit team found that there were 31 instances wherein sports goods (which include all gym and fitness equipment as well) amounting to Rs 3.19 lakh were purchased only for supplying it to the then UT Adviser (who is also the president of CSC), then Home Secretary, Governor house, Secretary, Chandigarh Sports Council, and other senior officers of UT Administration, as per the records.
“It has been noticed that the sports goods amounting to Rs 3,19,622 have been purchased by the office for its supply to the senior officers of the Chandigarh Administration. As per rules of financial propriety, certain individuals are not to be unduly benefited at the instance of the local body. The fundamental aim of good administration, namely, the maximum good for maximum number of people, is achieved, as far as possible, consistent with Directive Principles of our Constitution. Public money should not be utilized for the benefit of a particular person,” the audit report pointed out.
The audit recommended that the matter be placed before the council for taking necessary decision in the matter.
Of the 31 cases, sports equipment was supplied to Governor house six times during the audit period and amounts of Rs 14,333, Rs 8,663, Rs 13,938, Rs 14,910, Rs 3,381 and Rs 6,825 respectively were drawn from the council funds. Of the funds spent, only shuttlecock and badminton racket were purchased for Rs 3,381.
A motorised treadmill — make viva mode T166 with auto-incline along with weighing machine — was purchased for the then UT Advsier on February 6, 2015, amounting to Rs 60,585. Sports equipment was purchased five times from the council funds — one on October 28, 2014 for Rs 3,990, then in November 2014 for Rs 4,043, in December 2014 for Rs 13,204, in February 2015 for Rs 60,585 (treadmill) and another purchase in February for Rs 7,980 from the council funds. A total of Rs 89,802 was spent only for the then adviser’s personal use.
The then secretary, sports council, purchased one pair of track suit and jogger studs for Rs 7,665 from these funds while the goods were purchased for the then Home Secretary as well. Most of the purchases for the officers were made from M/S Prime Sports.
The audit team also found that purchases of Rs 38.99 lakh were bifurcated by the sports council to avoid sanction from the higher authority. In purchase of sports material and uniform for hockey team ‘for exposure tour to Malaysia’, the purchases of Rs 4.93 lakh were bifurcated into seven categories. Be it purchase of cricket kits, 200 cricket balls, cricket bags for Cricket Academy, and purchase of tracksuits each for junior and senior player of Football Academy, all were bifurcated. “The purchase is bifurcated to avoid calling tender,” was remarked in front of each of the instances.
“It has been noticed that the sanctioning authorities have granted sanctions for the purchase of material, goods, repair of computers after bifurcating the purchases to avoid sanction of higher authority and to follow the purchase procedure as prescribed in General Financial Rules,” the audit pointed out.
Not just this, cell phones for use by then officers of the council, that is secretary, joint secretary and assistant controller, were purchased even when there was no policy or rules or instructions framed by the Chandigarh Sports Council in this regard.
Director (sports) Karnail Singh said that he hadn’t received the report. “I will call for the report and discuss it with the council,” he said.
An official of the council on condition of anonymity said, “Mostly, the purchases were gym equipment, exercise bike, tennis kits or setting up of basketball court. When a senior officer asks for it, you can’t refuse.”