GUWAHATI, Sept 10 - Serious financial irregularities and rampant flouting of financial rules by the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) have come to light in a special audit carried out by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). Even the receipts from the State government were not recorded properly. Moreover, the Council did not have any internal audit mechanism, which resulted in total financial mismanagement, while the guidelines for implementation of various schemes, including the Central schemes for the welfare of the tribal people, were blatantly violated.
The CAG carried out a special audit of the accounts of the BTC for the period from 2008-09 to 2013-14 and detected large scale irregularities and pointed out that the revenue receipts varied widely every year, which was unusual. In deviation of the procedure for the preparation of head of account-wise plan budget estimates for entrusted subjects of the BTC, the budget provisions were prepared in a single head and forwarded to the State government contrary to the rules. This resulted in lack of control over the expenditure under different heads. The Council received an amount of Rs 1,330.07 crore from the State government during 2010-11, meant for both the district and deposit funds. But no fund was classified and exhibited as receipt from the State government under �Part I district fund� in the annual accounts. No receipt from the State government with corresponding expenditure was classified and exhibited under capital allocation during the period from 2010-14. Reasons for such inconsistencies were not explained by the BTC by way of explanatory notes in the annual accounts.
The report pointed out that there were discrepancies between the State appropriation accounts and the annual accounts of the BTC. The monthly accounts of expenditure were submitted to the AG showing head-wise expenditure incurred by the BTC.
Accordingly, appropriation accounts were prepared by the AG during the period from 2009-10 to 2013-14, which exhibited expenditure of Rs 281.72 crore under the WPT and BC plan against the original budget provision of Rs 1,469.09 crore during the period. Thus, there was a huge variation between the expenditure and the budget provisions.
The report pointed out that as per treasury rules, all money received by or tendered to government servants on account of revenue should be paid in full into the treasury without delay and included in public accounts. Such funds cannot be utilized to meet the expenditure of the departments concerned directly and cannot be kept apart from the public accounts. But interestingly, such a major case was seen in the BTC during the audit. The report revealed that during the period of audit, Rs 940 lakh was collected as sale proceeds of wayside bus tickets and was not deposited in the Personal Ledger Account (PLA) and it was not accounted in the Council�s cash book. The money was kept in a current bank account, which led to understatement of the actual receipts of the BTC. Moreover, out of the amount, together with the unspent balance of the previous year, an amount of Rs 939.10 lakh was spent on transport service activities, but it was not accounted for in the cash books as well as in the annual accounts.
The CAG pointed out that the annual accounts for the years under audit were compiled without reconciliation with the treasury records as was evident from the differences in the opening and closing balances.
As there is no internal audit mechanism in the BTC, scrutiny of the cash books, ledgers and other connected records proved large scale discrepancies. Pointing out to some such irregularities, the report said that vouchers of expenditure were not submitted properly and no voucher number was mentioned in the cash books. Bill numbers were not mentioned in the cash books and similarly, the cash book folio number was not mentioned in the vouchers. Physical verification of the stocks was not carried out and there was no system for verification and monitoring of collection of revenue and expenditure incurred for execution of works, implementation of various schemes, etc. In some cases, the specification of articles was not specified on the supply orders nor recorded in the files. This enabled the suppliers to supply inferior quality articles. Lack of coordination among various departments of the BTC also came to light and in absence of detailed record keeping for procurement of materials and distribution to the beneficiaries, the rates of procurement of same items varied from department to department. There was also no well defined purchase policy due to which the Council had to incur extra or avoidable expenditure over the years, the report said.