Now, it’s in the Education Department
Even the monsoon can be erratic but not scams in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) that appear like clockwork. This time round, the Standing Committee for Administrative Reforms has found several financial irregularities in the BBMP’s Education Department.
Committee chairperson V. Vageesh told reporters here on Monday that according to conservative estimates, the scam involves more than Rs. 240 crore and has been brewing over the past seven years. It came to light during an inspection of BBMP’s Education Department office on J.C. Road. He also said that he would recommend to Commissioner Rajneesh Goel to hand over investigation to the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force.
“With just a cursory glance through the files available in the department, we were able to ascertain that nearly half the budget allocated to education was being misappropriated. We smelled a rat in the procurement of school uniforms, shoes, sports equipment, computers, books and furniture. We have seized 50 files from the department,” Mr. Vageesh said.
The inspection also revealed a scam in the outsourcing of teachers for the BBMP-run institutions. As per records, there are 448 outsourced teachers who were appointed after the BBMP floated a tender in 2005-06. “The tender was for recruitment of these outsourced teachers for only a year. Only one agency participated and the contract was given to it, violating norms that state single-bid tenders should not be accepted. Even though the tender was terminated on March 31, 2007, the agency continues to provide outsourced teachers,” he said.
The tender process for the recruitment of outsourced teachers should have begun in November-December. However, the officials failed to start it and sent proposals to continue the services of these teachers for another year. “This has been happening each year. The officials failed to verify the educational qualifications and teaching capacity of these outsourced teachers. There is no record to state that the agency has paid the earnest money deposit to the BBMP. The agency has not submitted the originals with the tender,” he added.
Citing an instance, Mr. Vageesh said that one teacher was drawing salaries from two different schools. From the Corporation Nursery School, Kodihalli, she was drawing Rs. 6,880 and from the Corporation High School, Vijayanagar, she drew Rs. 10,374. The inspection revealed that the department has not maintained any documents pertaining to expenditure.
Asked why this irregularity had not been detected by the Standing Committee for Education and Sports, Mr. Vageesh said that many files were not sent to it.
Meanwhile, the former chairperson of the education committee Ramesh Raju denied the allegations and said that the financial records of the department were in order. Chairperson B. Govindaraju claimed that the funds allocated this fiscal had not been spent. He also argued that the Administrative Reforms Committee is not empowered to probe into financial matters.
Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy said that he would seek reports from both the committees. Mr. Rajneesh Goel said that he would initiate action based on the committee’s inspection report and recommendations.