Swachh Bharat funds: Chandigarh MC official withdrew Rs 1 crore sans approval, says audit

Discrepancies have also been mentioned in the audit report in the records of Chandigarh MC’s accounts department.

punjab Updated: Feb 12, 2018 14:54 IST
Hillary Victor
Hillary Victor
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Swachh Bharat funds,MC officer,Chandigarh
The report, submitted last week, said withdrawal of funds for the mission without a pre-audit, the first step in the process of the audit, and requisite approvals were in contravention of Section 176(2) of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, as extended to the UT. (HT File )

The annual audit report of the Chandigarh municipal corporation has pointed out serious irregularities in the withdrawal of Rs 1 crore by the civic body’s medical officer, health, (MOH) Dr Parminder Singh Bhatti, from Swachh Bharat Mission funds without the approval of the local audit department.

The report, submitted last week, said withdrawal of funds for the mission without a pre-audit, the first step in the process of the audit, and requisite approvals were in contravention of Section 176(2) of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, as extended to the UT.

Entries in cash book not verified
  • Discrepancies have also been mentioned in the audit report in the records of MC’s accounts department.
  • Referring to the MC’s main cash book related to its Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) current account No. 33490, the report said not a single entry in the cash book has been verified and initialled by the drawing and disbursing officer. A monthly abstract had not been prepared in the cash book and only the entries of income and expenditure had been entered.
  • Reasons for difference of balance in the cash book and the bank account mentioned, including FDRs, had not been ascertained and noted in the cash book every month-end, the report said.
  • The income transferred from the bank accounts being maintained by the MC to its sub offices: In Manimajra, MOH, fire services and engineering wing to the OBC Current Account No. 00382010033490 had not been taken as income in the main cash book.
  • The cash book had also not been signed by the officer authorised by the commissioner MC to sign on cheques as per Section 78(b) of Punjab Municipal Act, 1976, as extended to Chandigarh

As the Swachh Bharat Mission in this case is the MC’s resident scheme, its funds can be withdrawn only after pre-audit and cleared by the audit wing. Bhatti withdrew the funds without any approvals.

Money was withdrawn in two instalments, Rs 1 lakh was taken out in February 2016 and Rs 1 crore withdrawn in one day in March 2016. Dr Bhatti transferred Rs 1 crore to the public health wing without getting the bill passed by the local audit department. He also withdrew Rs 1 lakh for his own travelling allowance, also a serious irregularity, the report said.

Dr Bhatti did not respond to repeated calls and WhatApp messages. When contacted, mayor Davesh Moudgil, however, said, “It is a serious irregularity and I will look into it.” The audit officer has asked Dr Bhatti why the funds were withdrawn and recommended that the competent authority to take action against him.

Vehicle log books show discrepancies

The audit report has also pointed to discrepancies in the log books of vehicles provided to the MOH office. A log book page certificate, mentioning details of average consumption of petrol or diesel by vehicles, had not been maintained.

Lists of controlling officers of the vehicles declared by the competent authority had also not been provided to auditors, log books were not being verified or signed by the controlling officers with dates and monthly fuel consumption details. Vehicle runs during the month were not being verified or signed off by the controlling officers.

First Published: Feb 12, 2018 14:53 IST