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MHA finds irregularities in CRPF bamboo hut purchase

MHA audit wing,financial advisor recommend CBI probe.

An internal audit by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has revealed financial irregularities in the purchase of bamboo huts for CRPF field formations,including in Naxal-dominated areas.

Senior CRPF and public sector bank officials allegedly colluded to commit the irregularities.

While the audit wing and the financial advisor to the MHA recommended a CBI probe,former home secretary R K Singh allegedly deferred the decision.

CRPF placed an initial order with National Mission on Bamboo Application (NMBA) for 110 huts,each costing approximately Rs 5 lakh,allegedly without proper tendering. Subsequently,an advance of Rs 5.1 crore was paid to NMBA in 2011.

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The MHA audit team found 40 per cent of the advance “irregular”. It found that approximately Rs 7.9 crore was transferred from the NMBA account in Union Bank of India to four suppliers.

“Entries in the statement of this account reveal several illegal/non-allowed practices were followed by bankers and amplify the apprehension of siphoning of government money in connivance with officials of banks. Since the money trail of the above amount may reveal direct involvement of some senior officers of CRPF in the embezzlement,it is proposed that this file be dealt with in a top-secret manner,” the audit file states. It says bamboo huts were not an authorized item for use and payment clauses were changed.

“Prima facie,it appears a case of embezzlement of public money where NMBA (an autonomous body) seems to have been used by CRPF officials through possible connivance with the bank. The trail of this payment needs to be investigated. It is suspected that it could be just the tip of something bigger,” says a file noting by the MHA chief controller of accounts.

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A sample audit found that while the CRPF claimed 10 structures were supplied to Nagpur and three to Raipur,the group commanders have written to the audit wing that they received none.

The audit report also says while additional orders were placed by the CRPF for procurement of toilet and bath blocks for 66 units “citing urgency on account of nonavailability”,“not a single toilet/bath block has been supplied”.

In December last year,a file by the additional secretary and financial advisor to the ministry said “the audit conducted into the matter clearly indicates embezzlement of government money by some officers of the CRPF in collusion with Union Bank of India. The P-II division may be directed,with the approval of HS (Home Secretary) to refer the matter to CBI.”

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However,then home secretary R K Singh,in December 2012,listed four additional aspects of the case that should be probed — how much the CRPF was overcharged,whether due diligence for supplies was carried out,whether payments made are reflected in account books and an inspection at the site.

First published on: 13-09-2013 at 02:51:52 am
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