The secrecy fund of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) chairman, which was Rs. 10.50 crore in the year 2010-11, came down to Rs. 1.94 crore in the year 2012-13.
It has come out in details secured under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. The fund is meant for work pertaining to the secrecy of various examinations and the printing of question papers. The board spends a major portion of it (about Rs. 6 crore in the year 2010-11) on buying paper.
The information secured by lawyer HC Arora suggests that in a meeting on March 12, where the principal secretary in the education department led the proceedings, it was decided that the examiner, local fund accounts, would audit the secrecy fund for the year 2012-13. The secrecy fund was earlier immune from audit and the chairman only needed to submit the utilisation certificates at the end of year to auditors.
After Arora's public-interest petition, the Punjab and Haryana high court issued directions for showing the board's accounts to qualified auditors. Arora had sought directions to the PSEB to adopt a satisfactory method of audit.
The RTI investigation also suggested that in the meeting on March 12, it was noted that of the Rs. 2 crore kept as secrecy fund for the year 2012-13, the chairperson had spent Rs. 1.94 crore.