“Highly-exaggerated exercise in nitpicking… one-sided and arbitrary, inconsistent and self-contradictory, hyper-technical and motivated”.
That is how Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) has dismissed the special audit report of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that pointed out “irregularities” in the ambitious mega projects initiated by him in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
Rodrigues, whose five-year term at the Punjab Raj Bhawan expired on Monday, has responded to the 41-page MHA audit report with a rebuttal of nearly 700 pages forwarded to Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on November 10.
The confidential report, a copy of which has been made available to the Hindustan Times, questions very motives and method of the MHA audit.
This is perhaps the first time that a union territory (UT) Administrator has taken on the Union home ministry.
“It (the Audit exercise) demonstrates how projects designed to further the UPA Government’s agenda and to implement the ... Congress President’s objectives, to bring the disadvantaged and have nots into the mainstream, can be obstructed and ...de-railed by unscrupulous and well-connected players,” Rodrigues said.
The MHA audit report, first reported by HT, had sparked off a controversy, particularly over the 272-acre land acquisition for Phase III of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park.
Rodrigues dubbed the audit objections “a highly selective interpretation of facts and data on record”.
The administration said the “injustice and misdirection” of the audit is exemplified by the fact that the rates for allotment of land for the IT Park, “questioned and impeached in the Audit Report” were approved in September 2001 and notified in March 2002 when Lt Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) was the administrator.