CAG indicts babus for forging bills worth crores

  • Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 21, 2014 23:53 IST

Government officials might throw the rule book at citizens at the drop of a hat. But it looks like they are no good with the rules themselves.

The Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) has indicted officials across central ministries in India and abroad for chucking the rule book out of the window when it didn’t suit them, costing the exchequer crores of rupees.

And then, there were officials who discovered there were ingenious ways to make money.

That includes a junior accounts officer who forged medical bills worth Rs 11 lakh, and then cleared his own payments.

This one had submitted three medical bills — all certified by a resident surgeon of a cancer hospital in Guwahati — for his mother’s treatment between April-July 2012.

The official verified his own bills and got the payment from the Sports Authority of India director at Guwahati.

The CAG’s audit team, however, noticed that the receipt numbers were too close to each other though the dates were different and sent a team to the hospital. There was no evidence that the accounts officer’s mother had ever been admitted to the hospital.

Also, it turned out that the official had even cooked up the designation of the resident surgeon.

The department of consumer affairs on the other hand, arm-twisted two bodies under its control — Forward Markets Commission and the Bureau of Indian Standards — to clear their office expenses bills worth over Rs 1 crore. The department had run out of money and didn’t want to go to the finance ministry for additional funds.

The money was returned the next year but CAG indicted the department for short-circuiting the systems and lying to Parliament about the actual expenditures.

Another official at an Indian mission in the United States prepared fictitious payment vouchers and challan receipts to balance the accounts books in 2011-12. The Embassy of India at Buenos Aires, on the other hand, carried out transactions of Argentine peso worth Rs 5.1 crore without routing these through books of accounts of the government.

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