The principal accountant general (PAG) has cited Bihar governor-cum-chancellor of its universities, Devanand Konwar, for his frequent trips outside the state, including those to his native Assam, in contravention of rules.
In its latest audit report, covering the 2009-12 period, the PAG has also objected to ‘inadmissible use of funds and grants’ by the Patna Raj Bhawan, both in Bihar and outside the state.
The report says the Governor made 25 trips to Assam during the audit period. Further, in 2011-12 alone, he spent 154 days (five months) outside Bihar.
Irregular posting at Bihar Niwas
The audit has detected unauthorised payment of R40.19 lakh, on account of irregular posting of Raj Bhawan staff at Bihar Niwas, the state’s guesthouse located in Chanakya Puri, New Delhi.
The audit report says VS Giri Reddy, adviser to the governor, and nine others were posted at Bihar Niwas although there was neither any officially established governor’s camp office nor any sanctioned cadre post there.
Test check of the accounts relating to expenditure incurred on Bihar Niwas at New Delhi, according to the report, revealed an expenditure of R7.32 lakh during 2010-12 through 13 bills.
85% bills sans name, address
“Nearly 85% of the bills were without name and address, 20% bills were simply on plain paper, none of the bills were entered in stock register and, in some cases, the bills were irregularly paid by diverting the amount from secretariat head to ‘darbar’ head,” says the audit report.
When the matter was pointed out to special secretary to the governor, he said the matter would be investigated and the PAG would be apprised of the action taken in this regard later, the report stated.
Funds to ‘unknown’ Assam applicants
The audit report has also questioned the use of discretionary grant by the governor. “Seven applicants, including five from Assam, got Rs 1 lakh each. The payments were made through drafts/banker cheques but there was no record of recipients.
Further, the final amount of disbursement was drawn on the last working day of the financial year and, accordingly, cheques were issued to beneficiaries,” says the report.
Treasury code violated
The report says in contravention of the Bihar treasury code, recurring grants were given to Mahila Imdad Committee, Bihar — an organisation coordinating all women’s voluntary organisations and institutions in the state, headed by the governor’s wife. Another beneficiary of grants was Lily Gupta, honorary secretary general, national association of blind.
“It was noticed that in 2011-12, the first lady forwarded a formal request on behalf of the committee to the principal secretary to the governor for a grant of Rs 50,000 from the discretionary grant of the governor. Interestingly, while R50,000 was asked for, the committee ended up getting Rs 1 lakh,” says the report, questioning how recurring funds were allowed to two NGOs.
Expensive computer, I-phones
The test check of records also revealed misuse of public money to the tune of R69,000 on broad band connections continuing at the residence of senior officials of the Raj Bhawan.
“During audit, it was also revealed that one MacBook Air, 128 GB flash storage, built-in eye sight camera, two I-Phones-4S worth R89,000, an I-Pad and other gadgets were purchased on quotation from New Delhi. As per rules, there should be at least three quotations. Besides, there was no cash memo and no entry in the stock register,” says the report.
'Inadmissible' outstation trips
The report says a sum of Rs 15,68,534 was paid against governor’s trips outside state (2009-10 to 2011-12), mostly for air travel, some undertaken without the approval by the President of India.
“As such, while the expenditures incurred by the Raj Bhawan on such tours are liable for recovery, the expenditures incurred on the accompanying staff were also irregular,” the audit notes.