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Thursday, April 09, 2020

STEPS accounts: DA paid for official’s overstay in Japan, bought vintage souvenir without quotations, says Audit

In a detailed report, it was specified that the then director overstayed in Tokyo but the department contended that there was no availability of flight.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh | Published: February 22, 2020 12:25:01 am
STEPS accounts, official's overstay in Japan, vintage souvenir without quotations, Audit department, chandigarh, indian express news In the accounts it was specified that there was a “Purchase of Bose Speaker Sound Touch @20 series from M/s Simphony on January 18, 2017 for the official use of ‘Worthy Director’, Tourism” to which the audit department clearly specified that it was “not a fit charge” to be paid from the government funds.

Purchase of a high-end brand speaker for the use of ‘worthy director’ and payment made from government funds for her ‘overstaying’ in Japan — this is what the audit department found in the accounts of STEPS (Society for Tourism and Entertainment Promotion).

In a detailed report, it was specified that the then director overstayed in Tokyo but the department contended that there was no availability of flight. The official was also paid DA for the day which was part of the overstay.

The International Standing Conference in Tokyo, Japan, was on November 8, 2017, and the tour programme of Director, Le Corbusier Centre (DLCC), was approved for November 8 and 9.

“She left for Japan on November 7, 2017 and returned to India on November 11, 2017. It was requested to justify the stay at Japan on November 10 and deposit the excess payment amounting to Rs 31,954 (DA Rs 12910+Hotel Charges Rs 18444 + Rs 600 non-submission of bus ticket from Delhi to Chandigarh),” the audit department said in the report.

The society submitted the justification given by the official.

“The DLCC in its justification has intimated that there was no flight available as per the entitlement on 9th and 10th November 2017. No justification for non-availability of flights on November 9 and 10 was given while seeking the approval of the tour programme. The payment of Rs 31354/- (DA Rs. 12910+Hotel Charges Rs 18444) for November 10, 2017 has been paid, the same could have been saved if the flight of other airline was explored at the time of approval of tour program/booking of air tickets. Moreover no reply regarding non-submission of bus ticket from Delhi to Chandigarh amounting to Rs 600/- has been given. The justification given by DLCC be brought to the notice of  competent authority for consideration,” it was further specified in the report.

The audit department pointed out how the then director purchased a Bose speaker from the government funds.

In the accounts it was specified that there was a “Purchase of Bose Speaker Sound Touch @20 series from M/s Simphony on January 18, 2017 for the official use of ‘Worthy Director’, Tourism” to which the audit department clearly specified that it was “not a fit charge” to be paid from the government funds.

The department also paid for the purchase of vintage souvenir from Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, without inviting quotations.

Also, it was found that the payment of hotel bill of D’Angleterre in Denmark for the visit of CEO and president of STEPS to a travel company, M/s Grand Travel Planner P Ltd, was made.

The audit stated that it was not justified and “necessary recovery, if any, be made”.

Purchase of air tickets from private agencies

During the course of audit, it was also observed that the air tickets are got booked from private agencies, i.e. Grand Travel Pvt Ltd, City Travels Pvt Ltd, Cyber Travels, and Chahat Travels.

“The payment to these agencies had been paid on the basis of bills submitted by agencies. The itinerary tickets to verify the actual fare charged by airlines not made available to audit. The same may be procured from the airlines and verify the actual fare, amount of service charges being charged by these agencies. The excess payment if any be recovered from these agencies.”

It was on the complaint of activist R K Garg that special audit of various societies under the UT Administration was conducted. This audit pertained to the period from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2018.

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