Terming collection of over Rs 17,000 crore External Development Charges (EDC) by the Haryana government from plot/flat owners and builders across the state as “big scam” and “manipulation of accounts”, a Chandigarh based advocate has moved the Punjab and Haryana high court seeking probe from CBI or an independent agency.
The petitioner has alleged that the EDC collection is not being audited by the state accountant general and certain officials of the state government are destroying the original record “under the garb of fire incidents” at this stage when the term of the present government is going to expire on October 27. Allegations of manipulations of records have also been leveled against Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC). The petition would come up for hearing next week.
Advocate Manisha Garg in her petition has submitted that though EDC are meant to be spent on the development of roads, sewerage, water supply, drainage, hospitals, stadiums and fire stations but the amount is lying as fixed deposit receipts (FDRs) in different banks at the “whims and fancies of the political heads and government officers”.
It has been pointed out that in one of the cases before the high court, the state government had filed an affidavit in 2011 accepting collection of Rs 17,000 crore on account of EDC in which 15% departmental charges to the tune of Rs 608 crore were shown without any further details. Perusal of the affidavit and the expenditure showed that the same is titled as “tentative receipt and payment account” meaning thereby no definite figures are maintained by HUDA nor any proper audit has been done in respect of EDC charges, the petitioner has alleged.
Safe custody of records
Garg has also sought court directions for immediately taking into safe custody the entire record and accounts of the EDC charges, particularly in view of the fact that the efforts are being made to destroy the important files, including the expenditure of EDC, under the garb of fire incidents as was evident from the fire incident occurred recently on August 9 in the finance department at Haryana civil secretariat.
Consequently, appropriate cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other criminal provisions should be registered against the officials, the petitioner has prayed.
EDC being misused
The petitioner mentions that even in developed cities like Gurgaon and Faridabad there remains acute shortage of water, electricity, as well as basic sewerage facilities in spite of the fact that the state has collected huge amount of EDC. It has remained subject matter of various litigations before the high court by resident welfare associations. The state government authorities had failed to utilize the amount for the purpose it was meant for, the petitioner submits.