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Deputy resident commissioner posted at Delhi drawing salary against the post of assistant secretary at STA

UT Adviser Dharam Pal, when contacted by The Indian Express, said, “ Yes, he represents Chandigarh in Delhi. I will have to look at the audit objection raised on the same.”

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A Deputy Resident Commissioner of Chandigarh posted in Delhi has been drawing his salary against the post of Assistant Secretary of STA in Chandigarh since 2016. So far, funds of Rs 67 lakh have been drawn for his pay and allowances, as per the objection raised by the audit.

The information came to light in the audit objection raised by the department while scrutinising the documents of the office of State Transport Authority where they found that funds for the pay and allowance of the Deputy Resident Commissioner of the city, who is deputed at Delhi, had been drawn against the post of assistant secretary of the State Transport Authority for the past almost seven years——a post that otherwise has been lying vacant for the last several years.

As per norms, the salary or funds can be drawn and disbursed for the staff posted in that organisation only.

A serious objection by the audit department has been raised on this irregularity stating that the “post of the Assistant Secretary of the State Transport Authority has otherwise been lying vacant” and related important work affected, even as the salary of this employee at Delhi was being drawn against this post here.

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Citing “unjustified expenditure”, the audit department while raising a serious objection specified, “In an organisation, a DDO plays an important role in maintaining the financial management of the entity. He can draw and disburse the pay and allowances and other expenditure for the staff posted in that organisation only.”

The audit stated that “during the scrutiny of the records of the office of State Transport Authority for the year 2020-21, it was noticed that the salary of Bhartendu Shandilya, Deputy Resident Commissioner in Chandigarh posted at Delhi, are being continuously drawn from this office against the post of Assistant Secretary of this office.”

As such, the expenditure of Rs 67,65,817 from January 2016 to March 2021, incurred on pay and allowances of the officer, was an irregular expenditure and needs to be justified.

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The same was being continued despite red flags by the audit on this issue earlier as well.

“It was also pointed out in the previous audit report as para I for 64,80,895 for the period from January 2016 to November 2020. On being pointed out, the department stated that the reply has been submitted in previous report as per letter dated march 19, 2021. In the previous report, the department had stated that the salary of Bhartendu Shandilya, Deputy Resident Commissioner of Chandigarh at New Delhi is being drawn against the post of Assistant Secretary on orders of Chandigarh administration.

However, the reply of the department is not acceptable as the post of the Assistant Secretary in the department is still lying vacant which affects the important work of the department,” the audit observed.

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A senior officer of the Chandigarh Administration, when asked about the anomaly, said, “But this way it is being done for several other posts. It is quite normal here.”

R K Garg, a social activist, said, “Moreover when an official on deputation has already completed more than three years on one post at a place, there should be some provisions to bring in new people.”

Bhartendu Shandilya, the Deputy Resident Commissioner, was also contacted by The Indian Express. He said, ” Somehow the salary had to be drawn as the initial provisions weren’t there. It is quite normal everywhere. As there was no provision as to where my salary would be drawn against, the scale was equivalent to Assistant Secretary in STA, so it was adjusted from there.”

Shandilya was asked how frequently does he visit Chandigarh. “Infact, I represent Chandigarh administration in Delhi. So only, if there is any meeting with the Governor or Adviser I come there”

When asked about his task and whether the post was created by the Centre, he said, “No, the post isn’t created by the Centre but it’s like UT wanted to have its representative in Delhi, the way other states have. So I have been like representing them for their works here.” Shandilya has been the Deputy Resident Commissioner since 2016 January, that is for the last almost seven years.

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Though, for meetings with the Ministry of Home Affairs or any other department, mostly it is Chandigarh Adviser, Home Secretary or Finance Secretary or Deputy Commissioner who have been going to Delhi for Chandigarh’s work.

UT Adviser Dharam Pal, when contacted by The Indian Express, said, “ Yes, he represents Chandigarh in Delhi. I will have to look at the audit objection raised on the same.”

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When asked if the officer is on deputation for years, he said, “Oh, yes, he is on deputation…that way even so many doctors here in Chandigarh from other states have been sitting on deputation for years.”

WHAT A DY RESIDENT COMMISSIONER DOES

Officials said that the Deputy Resident Commissioner of Chandigarh, who has been posted at Delhi since 2016, represents Chandigarh.

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A senior officer when asked what is the role of the officer, said, “He usually carries out our work in Delhi whichever we want.”

First published on: 01-11-2022 at 08:00 IST
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