Take a call on dissolving BBMP, High Court’s suggestion to State

Wondering how private accounts in banks could be maintained on behalf of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) by its officials, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday suggested to the State government to take a call on dissolving the civic body and appointing an administrator.

A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice Ravi Malimath made oral observations in this regard during the hearing of a PIL which alleged that the BBMP has consistently failed to get its accounts audited, as mandated by law, for the past five years resulting in several scams.

The bench ordered issue of notices to the Union Ministry of Finance, State government, BBMP and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

The PIL was filed by Namma Bengaluru Foundation and Rajya Sabha Member Rajeev Chandrasekhar. It has sought directions to the CAG to audit the BBMP’s accounts from 2011 to 2015 and to the State government to probe, identify persons and reasons for non-conduct of timely audit.

Appearing for the petitioners, Senior Counsel Sajjan Poovayya contended that non-conduct of audit by the BBMP was one of the reasons why Bengaluru did not qualify for the Smart City project of the Union government.

Pointing out that private accounts were maintained by civic officials in different banks, including one in Tumakuru, which is outside the BBMP’s jurisdiction, to deposit public money, the counsel argued that neither is a cash register maintained nor an internal accounting system is in operation within the BBMP.

Also, it was pointed out that Mr. Chandrasekhar had written a letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in October 2005 urging audit of BBMP accounts by CAG but there was no action except a letter from the Chief Minister’s office stating that the ‘matter will be looked into and appropriate action taken’.

The petitioner had pointed to the adverse remarks made against the BBMP by the CAG in its 2014 report for not submitting annual financial statements and for illegal diversion of funds.

Irregularities related to advertisement hoardings, garbage contracts, fake civil works bills, etc, which, according to newspaper reports related to misuse of nearly Rs. 9,000 crore, was solely due to absence of an audit from 2010 onwards, it was alleged in the petition.

Meanwhile, counsel for BBMP told the court that auditing has been completed up to 2013-14 and is in progress for the year 2014-15.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 1:18:00 AM |

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