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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Explain delay in auditing Games: Shunglu to CAG

RTI reply shows PM’s probe panel pointed out specific instances of delay.

Written by Ravi Bajpai | New Delhi |
July 30, 2011 3:54:12 am

The V K Shunglu Committee,probing charges of corruption in works carried out for the Commonwealth Games,asked the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to explain delays in auditing the accounts of the CWG Organising Committee,a Right To Information query has revealed.

In a letter to CAG Vinod Rai — it is dated November 26,2010 — Shantanu Consul,Shunglu’s colleague in the two-member committee appointed by the Prime Minister,pointed out instances where the committee felt the CAG delayed auditing the Organising Committee’s accounts for inexplicable reasons.

“Since these events effectively delayed audit arrangements which the Government of India decided to put in place as early as 2006,it would be appropriate to report on them,” Consul wrote in the letter,seeking the CAG’s comments.

The Indian Express has a copy of the letter that was procured through a Right to Information application,filed by Dr Sundar Raman,a resident of Delhi,in February this year.

Rai could not be contacted despite repeated phone calls and a visit to his office. Queries sent to him via email also went unanswered.

In the letter,Consul pointed to a request by the Sports Ministry to the CAG in May 2007 to audit the utilisation of Central financial grants by the Organising Committee.

The amount of grants mentioned made it clear that the CAG had the authority to audit the expenditure as per law,Consul pointed out,but the auditor said it could do so only if the request came through the Department of Economic Affairs.

“It is unclear why it was necessary to make the request through the Department of Economic Affairs. Neither the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules nor the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules so require,” Consul wrote. The letter further pointed to a subsequent request for audit in April 2008 by the Economic Affairs Department. To this,the CAG said that for the years 2006 to 2008 it would audit accounts only after these were certified by chartered accountants,the letter stated.

Consul wrote: “It is not clear why there was an insistence on receipt of certificates from the chartered accountants,because there is no such requirement… the CAG is not obligated to certify accounts.”

The Shunglu panel also said an inspection note seeking explanations from the OC on audit findings regarding expenditures between April 2005 and March 2007 was issued five months after the audit ended. “Thereafter exchanges between the OC and CAG have continued for nearly a year and a half without any findings being finalised or included in any report of the CAG,” the letter stated.

It also points out that regarding the inspection note seeking explanation for the 2007-08 audit,the CAG and the OC are still engaged in correspondence.

Flowers for CAG: Rs 18 lakh in 3 years

As much as Rs 18.66 lakh was spent on bouquets and flowers between 2008 and 2010 to decorate three buildings and personal offices of the CAG. “This expenditure is a consolidated figure for the three buildings of CAG’s office,i.e. main building and annexe building located at 10,Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg,and CAG office at 9,Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg,” stated the reply to the RTI.

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