GUWAHATI: Vigilance and Anti-Corruption sleuths have finally started an investigation into allegations of corruption to the tune of around Rs 60 crore having taken place in the Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Jorhat, between 2010-2011 and 2017-2018.
The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption sleuths heard the deposition of members of the Amguri Nabanirman Samity, which had lodged a complaint regarding large-scale financial malfeasance in the AAU with the investigating agency back in 2018. In the meantime, the Samity also filed two PILs in the Gauhati High Court, alleging rampant corruption not only in the AAU, but also in the Gauhati University, the Dibrugarh University and the Tezpur University as well.
The Samity has alleged in their PILs that various financial irregularities by the AAU authorities have also been exposed in various audit reports of the Office of the Accountant General (Audit), Assam.
For example, the PILs allege, the audit report of the Office of the Accountant General (Audit) for accounts of the AAU for 2010-2011 found the following discrepancies: irregular withdrawal of Rs 2.5 crore and undue financial aid of Rs1.06 crore extended to contractors; excess and undue financial benefit of Rs 2.94 crore extended to construction agency without obtaining Bank Guarantee Bond; excess and undue financial benefit of Rs 414.96 lakh extended to construction agency without obtaining Bank Guarantee; non-supply of materials by the supplier resulted in undue financial benefit of Rs 11.89 lakh; doubtful procurement of earth valued at Rs 4.55 lakh for construction of earthen road; discrepancy between funds received and figures appearing in the Annual Accounts of Rs 1,670.54 lakh; non-submission of Utilization Certificate for Rs 20.73 lakh;
Further, the Samity has alleged that the State Plan Compliance Audit of the accounts of the Comptroller, AAU, for the financial years 2011-12 to 2015-16 were test-audited by an audit team from the Office of the Accountant General(Audit). As per the audit report, the following irregularities were found: creation of unproductive infrastructure led to wasteful expenditure of Rs 7.33 crore; undue financial benefit to supplier; and injudicious investment of Government fund for showcasing of farm machinery/hubs;
The Samity has mentioned in the PILs that the AAU also receives funds from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and in compliance with ICAR norms audits were conducted on the accounts of the Comptroller of AAU for the financial years 2011-12 to 2015-16, which found the following irregularities: wasteful expenditure of Rs 2.50 crore due to unrealistic planning and unjustified estimating; loss of public money due to non-deduction of interest on mobilization advance amounting to Rs 2.14 crore; irregular expenditure of ICAR grant amounting to Rs 138.31 lakh; failure to control expenditure within sanctioned amount led to huge minus balances in the University's account; renovation of Basic Science Building and irregular execution for Rs 52.22 lakh; renovation of Boys' Hostel at BN College of Agriculture and irregular execution for Rs 56.94 lakh; renovation of Boys' Hostel at AAU, Jorhat and irregular execution for Rs 36.89 lakh; doubtful expenditure of Rs 1.67 lakh; excess fund released to the construction committees; non-adjustment of advance of Rs 12.61 lakh; non-compliance with financial rules and non-adjustment of advances received under AICRPAM-NICRA, RKVY schemes for Rs 4.07 crore; irregular procurement of computers for Rs 13.44 lakh; unadjusted advance Rs 0.51 lakh; avoidable surcharges of electricity bill amounting to Rs 10.35 lakh; non-recovery of liquidated damage (LD) and penalty amounting to Rs 54.43 lakh; unadjusted advance of Rs 7 lakh; non-deduction of VAT from adjusted bills of Rs 1.27 lakh; doubtful expenditure amounting to Rs 1.99 lakh; non-adjustment of RKVY and other funds amounting to Rs 64.50 lakh; non-maintanence of cashbook; unauthorized allotment of ICAR fund; and unadjusted advance of Rs 1.27 crore.