As the city’s October date with the Commonwealth Games (CWG) draws nearer, financial irregularities seem to be tumbling out of the closet all at the same time.
Alleging the Delhi government of “robbing the reserved classes of their rights”, officials of NGOs, Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) and National Campaign on Dalit and Human Rights (NCDHR) said the government diverted funds to the tune of Rs 744 crore from the Special Component Plan (Scheduled Caste Sub Plan) to meet CWG-related expenses.
The amount includes the proposed expenditure for the current year as well. The allegation is based on the data provided by the Delhi government’s department for the welfare of SC/ST/OBC/Minorities in response to an RTI application.
In the reply, details of the expenditure from the fund have been provided from the year 2006 to 2010 in a tabulated form.
One section in the table clearly lists expenditure under ‘Amount spent in CWG’. A copy of the response is with the Hindustan Times.
“The diversion of funds is illegal. In the Planning Commission’s master guideline for the special component plan, the funds are non divertible and non lapsable,” said Miloon Kothari, executive director, HLRN.
Admitting that the government spent crores of rupees meant for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to fund preparations for the October Commonwealth Games, Delhi government officials said there was "nothing wrong in it". They said members of the reserved categories will eventually utilise the upcoming infrastructure projects and would benefit from them.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit maintained that her government “didn't misutilise funds”.
“We have not diverted any funds from the Scheduled Castes welfare schemes for the Commonwealth Games,” she said.
According to the report released by the NGOs, more than 50 per cent funds have been diverted towards transport under the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, New Delhi Municipal Council and Public Works Department (Rs 583 crore).
“Such notations in the budget books indicate that there is scope for immense embezzlement of funds,” said Kothari.