It is common knowledge that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is cash-strapped. Yet, the BBMP council, on Saturday, approved the move to drop the recovery of nearly Rs. 483 crore for which objections have been raised in the audit reports from 1964 to 2006-07.
Protesting the move, Janata Dal (S) Floor Leader Padmanabha Reddy asked why the BBMP could not try to recover at least half the amount, instead of mortgaging its properties to raise funds. He suggested internal auditing to prevent such large-scale misappropriation.
A.L. Shivakumar, chairperson of the Standing Committee for Accounts, also stressed the need for an internal audit, pre-audit, concurrent audit and reconciliation of BBMP's 668 bank accounts.
Commissioner M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda said that recovery was posing a problem, and maintained that the amount was small considering the number of years. As for internal audit, he would consult the Auditor-General.
Banashankari Temple ward councillor A.H. Basavaraju raised the issue of officials in the BBMP on deputation using influence to prevent repatriation to their parent departments. Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board chairperson Gaurav Gupta continued to occupy the BBMP quarters in St. John's Wood Apartments in Koramangala even four years after being transferred out of the civic body. Another official, A.L. Purushottam, stayed in the BBMP quarters for a month after being transferred, even drawing his salary for that month. The BBMP had failed to collect Rs. 1.7 lakh rent from him.
Dr. Rajkumar ward councillor Gangabyraiah alleged that two officials — Gopal Gowda (KAS) and accounts superintendent Tandavamurthy — had used influence to get posted in the BBMP. “Those who come on deputation must be repatriated to parent departments after three years, as per rules.”
RTI Act ‘misuse'
Several councillors concurred when Yediyur councillor N.R. Ramesh spoke about RTI activists misusing the “people-friendly” Act.