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Noida: CAG begins audit of three authorities

It has sought details regarding the land allotment and other financial transactions from the three authorities.

noida Updated: Nov 21, 2017 23:10 IST
Vinod Rajput
Vinod Rajput
Hindustan Times
Noida authority,Greater Noida authority,Yamuna Expressway authority
The accounts of the three industrial development authorities—Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway (above)—with an aim to identify irregular transactions, if any, and the officials who were responsible for such transactions.(Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has started audit of the three industrial development authorities — Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway — on Tuesday.

It has sought details regarding the land allotment and other financial transactions from the three authorities.

Noida authority chief executive officer Alok Tandon said, “We have received a letter from CAG in which it has sought details from all departments. We are sending all the details which the CAG has asked
us for.”

Apart from carrying out checks on procedures, utilisation of funds and progress of projects, the CAG audit may also scrutinise the terms of contracts, agencies and contractors to whom the projects have been awarded.

Apart from this, the Noida authority kept paying ₹100 crore per annum as salary to various contractual employees without actually getting any work done, the official said.

For instance, a team of authority officials reviewed the deployment of these guards and found that 380 guards were sufficient for their requirements.

A private agency provided 800 guards who were serving in various departments of
the authority for the last five years.

The guards were shown as posted at various construction sites, authority’s offices, parking lots and vacant government land to safeguard it from land mafia.

“In reality, many of these guards were not even reporting to their posts but were drawing salaries. Therefore, the authority has decided to remove them,” a Noida authority official had said.

On July 11, Uttar Pradesh industrial development department principal secretary Alok Sinha had written to Vinita Mishra, accountant general (Economic and Revenue Sector Audit), Uttar Pradesh, in this regard.

The CAG audit will be conducted annually in Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway authorities.

The audit will cover all accounts and transactions that took place in the three authorities from 2012 to 2017.

The state government has also allowed a CAG audit of the Ghaziabad development authority with an aim to identify irregular transactions, if any, and the officials who were responsible for such transactions.

A controversy had erupted during the UP election campaigning earlier this year over allowing the CAG access to these authorities.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during an election rally in Ghaziabad, had alleged large scale corruption in the GDA.

The Samajwadi Party government had denied permission to the CAG to audit the GDA despite governor Ram Naik’s intervention in the issue.

The accountant general had brought the matter to the notice of the governor through letters on May 5 and May 31, 2016.

The governor had noted that the state government’s contention of not allowing the CAG to conduct the audit was completely untenable and without any legal basis.

The audit had been conducted every year prior to this, under express authority granted by the governor of Uttar Pradesh and in consonance with the provisions of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Services) Act 1971, said the governor in his letter to then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.

The state government had, however, refused to change stance pointing out that 2% of stamp duty under the Indian Stamp Act 1899, Section 27 and the UP Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973, section 3 did not fall within the category of the consolidated fund of the state.

It was further pointed out that under the terms of section 20 (3) of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act 1971, the Accountant General was not empowered to carry out the audit of bodies or authorities unless authorised to do so by the governor.

Naik had taken up the issue with then President Pranab Mukerjee.

“For the purpose of transparency, an audit should be carried out wherever government funds are given,” President Mukherjee had said.

Political parties gave mixed reactions to the report that the CAG was going to audit the three authorities. While the BJP welcomed the move, Samajwadi Party said the BJP was conducting the audit only because it had failed to deliver on the promise of bringing about development
in UP.

“The BJP is busy in conducting CAG audit because it has failed on its promise to bring about development in Uttar Pradesh, including Noida and Greater Noida. The BJP has been in power in UP many times in the past. Why it did not allow an audit earlier or even the Congress for that matter?” said Surendra Nagar MP (Rajya Sabha) from Samajwadi party.

“The audit is required now because over the past many years, corruption has been rampant in the Noida and Greater Noida authorities. Development of the area will not be affected due to the CAG audit. It will only ensure transparency in public dealings,” said Nawab Singh Nagar, former BJP minister from UP and senior party
member.

First Published: Nov 21, 2017 23:10 IST