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Dubious dealings via illegal accounts

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  28 April 2016 12:00 AM GMT

ROT IN ASSAM FINCE DEPARTMENT

* Departments opened ‘illegal accounts’ for dubious transactions
* Rs 62,000 crore transferred to these accounts from treasuries for fictitious work/ services in eight years
* CAG detected 300 such accounts, had asked Dispur to closed them down

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, April 27: Assam's Fince department had put in place illegal accounting systems allegedly for shady transactions, in a revelation that has laid bare the deep entrenched institutiolization of corruption in the State government.

In 2006, the State's Fince department had set up, unilaterally and uuthorizedly, a parallel accounting system without any exterl accountability.

This, according to a PIL filed in the Gauhati High Court by the Asom Jatiya Ga Sangram Parishad which sought a probe into fincial irregularities to the tune of Rs 62,000 crore within the government machinery, was in contravention of Article 151 of the Constitution.

Crores of funds - mostly the unspent amounts at the end of the fincial years - were transferred to this parallel accounting system.

In 2009, the Fince department had also asked all the administrative departments to open new current accounts through which dealings worth crores were done.

The Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) had detected around 300 such operatiol current accounts.

Following pressure from the CAG, Dispur was forced to close down all these "illegal accounts" in 2013.

"The drawing and disbursing officers of the State government illegally transferred funds from the Consolidated Fund of Assam to current bank accounts, Time Deposit Receipts and Certificates of Deposit outside the government's account at least from 2005-06 and onward and beyond March 31 of every fiscal year," the PIL stated.

Pointing to the non-submission of 19,830 utilization certifications worth Rs 12,688 crore by the State government as on November 30, 2014, the PIL stated that central grants amounting to Rs 62,000 crore were used for "fictitious work and services" and no payments were made directly to the fil recipients after drawing the amounts from treasuries.

"Unverified payments were made by the departments from the illegal accounts for several years," it said.

"The Government of Assam drew Rs 62,164.54 crore in (the month of) March alone between 2004-05 and 2013-14, from its treasuries, mostly on the basis of bogus certification of work/ services done and did not submit 19,830 utilization certificates for a total value of Rs 12,688.11 crore as on November 30, 2014," the PIL added.

The parallel accounts were in violation of RBI guidelines and the State government did not seek prior permission from either the CAG or the Central government for creation of the parallel accounting system. Uuthorized transfers to these non-government banking instruments understated the cash balance of the State held by the RBI and caused substantial loss of interest besides inflating the Central government's budget deficit with unverifiable gain accruing to the State of Assam.

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