The functioning in the country's premier sports institute — the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, which will produce the bulk of the athletes for the 2010 Commonwealth Games — has once again come under the scanner.
Financial irregularities of around Rs two lakh related to the purchase of electrical appliances, plumbing and civil work in the last financial year might not be such a big issue, but the fact that the Sports Authority of India (SAI) would be handling more than Rs 1,000 crores on preparing its athletes for the Games -— most of them in NIS Patiala — gives rise to concern about proper utilisation of funds.
Some SAI officials forged signatures on the 'bills' in order to adjust the amount and have gone to the extent of submitting them for authentication to the SAI head office in New Delhi.
The assistant engineer at NIS, Pawan Joshi, took an advance of Rs 2.17 lakh in June 2007 for some electrical, plumbing and civil works. But the bills were submitted without the amount being utilised for the desired works. The members of the three purchase committees constituted for the works are shocked. In fact, they don't even know what items were purchased and how the deal could take place without their approval.
"Government norms say that no purchases can be made without the approval of the convener and the members of the particular committee. It's strange how the engineering department purchased the items. I was in one of the three committees and I did not sign any bills," said a SAI official on condition of anonymity.
The electrical items worth Rs 90,000 were purchased only on paper from a local shop and no sales tax number was mentioned on the bills.
Similarly, public health items worth Rs 70,000 were procured and here too the committee members neither signed nor gave their approval. In fact, the committee members have conveyed to the top SAI officials that their signatures had been forged.
The shocking part is that the finance department in the NIS sent the bills with forged signatures to the SAI headquarters and the Delhi office too didn't ask for the original bills.
"As Pawan Joshi had not submitted the bills before the financial year closing, we issued him a memo to submit the bills on the advance given to him. He submitted the bills in April, but as there are discrepancies, we have put an objection on them," said a SAI official.
The Executive Director, NIS, Patiala, LS Ranwat when contacted said the issue had come to his notice. "We have kept the matter under scrutiny."