KARNATAKA

Lokayukta detects large-scale discrepancies

The Lokayukta, N. Venkatachala (left), speaking to the Managing Director of Karnataka SC and ST Development Corporation, Baburao Mudabi, during his visit to the corporation offices in Bangalore on Thursday. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

The Lokayukta, N. Venkatachala (left), speaking to the Managing Director of Karnataka SC and ST Development Corporation, Baburao Mudabi, during his visit to the corporation offices in Bangalore on Thursday. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy  

BANGALORE, MARCH 17. Barely 25 per cent of eligible Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) beneficiaries are getting any help from the Karnataka SC and ST Development Corporation, the Lokayukta M.N. Venkatachala, found on Thursday.

The corporation has an annual budget of more than Rs. 100 crores. This includes loans from government departments routed as assistance to beneficiaries from SCs and STs. The corporation's records point to Rs. 730 crores having been provided as assistance since 1975. The State Government's Administrative Reforms Committee recommended closure of the corporation.

Loan recovery

During a random check of the corporation's records during his visit without prior announcement, Mr. Venkatachala found discrepancies in documents related to loans extended to beneficiaries. It has to recover loans of Rs. 141 crores. The Comptroller and Auditor General has gone on record expressing concern over the financial management of the corporation. "The officials are not making sure that financial help is really reaching those it is meant for. Till now, loans and subsidies and other assistance have been given to six lakh families, going by the records. If the corporation is really efficient and earnest, and the money has been reaching them over the past 30 years of the corporation's functioning, all these families ought to be better off. That is not the case,'' he remarked.

The Managing Director of the corporation, Baburao Mudabi, admitted that funds have reached only two lakh families. "The balance may have gone to middlemen,'' he said.

The Lokayukta also found that the corporation had an annual target of providing autorickshaws on hire purchase to 2,000 beneficiaries. The records checked for this fiscal revealed only 30 were genuine cases of the needy actually getting the vehicles. At least 52 autorickshaws appeared to have been cornered by "middlemen." There were four cases of four persons with no proof-of-residence apparently having received autorickshaws.

In 14 other cases, the "community/caste certificates" did not stand scrutiny and could have been bogus.

There were 12 instances of two autorickshaws having been allotted to the same person. All these pointed to violation of rules.

The corporation's budget for 2005-06 is Rs. 56 crores and loans from other departments will amount to more than Rs. 55 crores, including assistance from the National Scheduled Tribes' Finance Corporation and other central organisations. The audit report shows the corporation has defaulted in repaying Rs. 15 crores to these organisations.

Bogus claims

After being questioned by the Lokayukta, the corporation's General Manager (Finance), B. Anjaneyalu, admitted that the extent of "bogus claims" could be as high as 75 per cent.

Mr. Mudabi said there were no returns since last year on the share capital invested by the Union and State governments in the corporation.

The share capital by the two governments amount to Rs. 100 crores.

The Lokayukta went back with three bundles of files for scrutiny and will send a report to the Government suggesting ways to revive the financial health of the corporation.

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