Jal Board did not provide accounts for audit, CAG informs Delhi HC
The Comptroller and Auditor General ( CAG) informed the Delhi high court last month that the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) did not provide its accounts for audit despite several written correspondences.
The CAG filed the affidavit in response to a plea by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Harish Khurana seeking direction to CAG to audit the DJB’s accounts, alleging there has not been an audit in the last six years.
In the affidavit, filed before a bench comprising chief justice DN Patel and justice Jyoti Singh, CAG said that there was no negligence on their part as DJB did not provide them with their accounts in the first place.
“The office made several correspondences seeking accounts for audit from Delhi Jal Board and higher authorities of Delhi government. That as the accounts were not made available for audit, the audit could not be accomplished,” the central auditing body said.
CAG said that during the last six years, seven pending accounts prior to the financial year 2015-16 were audited but the rest of the accounts were not made available to them.
“That as the accounts were not made available for audit, the audit could not be accomplished. On making available the accounts of Delhi Jal Board, the answering respondent (CAG) undertakes to conclude the Audit of Delhi Jal Board as expeditiously as possible,” CAG said.
Meanwhile, DJB also filed a response, saying that Khurana’s plea was “politically motivated”. It said that all accounts of the DJB were maintained “diligently”.
DJB said that the final accounts and balance sheet up to the year 2014-15 were audited by the CAG, based on which the final accounts and balance sheet of the year 2015-16 was prepared as well. It was scheduled to be placed before the board at the next board meeting for confirmation before being forwarded to the office of the principal accountant general (audit) for the audit.
“Consequently, as the accounts for 2014-15 have recently been audited by the CAG in August 2021, the accounts for 2015-16 incorporating the inputs from audited accounts of 2014-15 have been revised and finalised... However, it is inaccurate to state that accounts have not been maintained by the Respondent No. 2 (DJB), inasmuch as all accounts are being maintained by them as required by law till date, and only require finalisation in terms of the audited accounts of the previous year before being submitted for audit,” the DJB’s response read.
Questioning the maintainability of the plea, DJB alleged that the Khurana filed the petition based on RTIs filed by a third party.
The matter was listed on Monday, but could not be heard as the judge was on leave.
Khurana’s petition said that in response to RTIs dated May 11, May 24, and July 22 this year, it was clearly stated that the copy of the balance sheet for the year 2015-16 and onward is under preparation.
The plea said since the authorities have failed to perform the functions laid down under the law, the petitioner was approaching the court with the petition.
“It is mandatory to maintain financial accounts and conduct an annual audit of the accounts, in order to ascertain effective functioning of the state and local bodies. Maintaining financial accounts and conducting an annual audit of the accounts help to secure accountability, transparency of the state and local bodies functioning towards the general public,” the plea said.