In a total change of their stand under the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the state officials of housing and urban planning department have given a nod to the comptroller and auditor general of India to audit the Ghaziabad development authority (GDA) books. They gave the nod on the basis of the provisions of a previous June 1985 order that allows for the same.
Till two days ago, the authority officials had denied a CAG audit of their accounts. Earlier, in June 2016, the state officials had maintained that GDA did not fall under the ambit of a CAG audit.
“The government order (dated April 7) was received by us and the CAG audit will be initiated as directed. Earlier, there was a denial but now they (state officials) have given a go-ahead (for the audit),” TR Yadav, finance controller of GDA, said.
The latest government order states the directions of a previous order of June 1985, which states that agencies/development authorities getting grant/loan of Rs1 crore or above in a financial year from the Consolidated Funds of State will have to get accounts audit by CAG. HT has a copy of the government order allowing a CAG audit.
Sources said that the move is due to a change in the regime. The same officials, during the previous government rule, had repeatedly denied permission for a CAG audit of the development authority.
On February 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his election rally had targeted GDA for alleged ‘land scams’ and said that if BJP wins the elections, he would ensure a CAG audit of all development authorities, including GDA.
Even two days ago, a team of CAG officials had approached the authority headquarters in Ghaziabad and requested for permission to initiate an audit. However, they were denied permission by the officials on the ground that there was no clearance from the state government.
“We told them that there was no instruction from the state officials and so, we denied them permission to conduct an audit,” Ravindra Godbole, secretary, GDA, said.
In 2016, a CAG audit was suspended by officials on the basis of a government order by then UP principal secretary Sadakant, which stated that the state government had to be consulted for an audit.
Official sources had said that a team from UP auditor general office regularly undertakes audit and sends project files to them for scrutiny. The report by the audit team is also sent to a committee of members of Vidhan Parishad, which monitors and reviews shortcomings.