In first-ever audit of Noida-Greater Noida, CAG sees many scams
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its first-ever audit of Noida and Greater Noida accounts, has purportedly found several scams in the two rich industrial development authorities.
The CAG audit of the two authorities covers the period 2005 to 2018.
Sources dealing with the audit in the CAG office in Lucknow disclosed that the financial watch dog has sniffed out massive financial irregularities in allotment of land and plots for housing and institutional and commercial purposes.
The CAG has already submitted its draft report on the audit of Noida authority to the state government and is about to finalise the draft report on Greater Noida authority.
Principal secretary, industrial and infrastructure development, Alok Kumar confirmed that his office had received the draft report on Noida authority some time back.
“The CAG’s draft report on Noida authority has been received though it is yet to reach my table,” he said and added: “We will soon examine it and submit our replies, if any, to the objections raised in it,” he said.
The sources said irregularities had been found in both the authorities. However, the situation, they pointed out, was comparatively better in Greater Noida.
“The magnitude of financial the irregularities discovered in Noida authority are beyond imagination and the scams are worth thousands of crore rupees,” the sources said, adding: “The draft report has said the authority blatantly ignored its own rules in allotment of land and plots for various purposes between 2005 and 2018.”
According to the sources, before finalising the draft report, the CAG sought reply from the Noida authority to various audit paras but the authority was not able to provide replies to majority of the questions despite reminders. “They could not reply to even 10% of the queries and this is very rare,” said the sources.
Significantly, the CAG got permission to audit Noida and Greater Noida authorities after efforts of almost two decades. The CAG had been regularly demanding from the UP governments to allow the audit of these two authorities but the state governments rejected its request each time, saying only public finances came under the purview of CAG audit whereas Noida and Greater Noida authorities were self-financed bodies taking no funds from the government.
The CAG had countered this argument, saying it was the state government that acquired land for these authorities and also provided many other concessions to them from time to time.
“It was only a year ago that the Yogi Adityanath government permitted the CAG to carry out audit of Noida and Greater Noida for the period 2005-2018,” sources said.
The Noida authority has been embroiled in controversies over alleged scams earlier too. In 2012, a CBI court in Ghaziabad convicted UP’s ex-chief secretary Neera Yadav and then serving IAS officer and former Noida authority chief executive officer Rajiv Kumar for a ‘plot allotment scam’ that took place between 1994 and 1995. Upholding their conviction, the Supreme Court in August 2017 sentenced both of them to two years in prison.
Their conviction came after a public interest litigation (PIL) alleged serious illegalities in allotment and conversion of plots. It was alleged in the PIL that several people were given bigger and better plots for unknown reasons and against rules.
In 2016 former Noida authority chief engineer Yadav Singh was jailed in connection with a Rs 954 crore fraud committed by him by signing 1,280 contract bonds within a span of eight days. The Supreme Court granted him bail in October 2019.