CAG detects Rs 20 lakh anomalies in NC Hills

R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, Jan 19 – Though huge sums of money have been spent in Assam over the years for counter-insurgency operations, there is apprehension of misappropriation of a portion of the funds and one such case in North Cachar Hills district has come to light. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), during a test check, found that an amount of Rs 20 lakh earmarked for counter-insurgency operations in the hill district remained unaccounted, which tantamounts to misappropriation.

The CAG, in its latest report, pointed out that as per rules 78 and 79 of the Assam Financial Rules, every payment should be supported by a voucher and actual payee’s receipt. Further, according to Rule 95 of the Assam Financial Rules, every receipt and disbursement should be recorded in the cash book.

However, a test check of the records of the office of the Deputy Commissioner of North Cachar Hills in November , 2009, revealed that Rs 45.62 lakh was drawn in July, 2008 to meet the expenditure for counter-insurgency operations. The amount drawn was credited to the DDO’s bank account. Subsequently, the amount was withdrawn and transferred to the Nazarat branch of the office.

According to the payment register (subsidiary cash book), out of the amount, Rs 25.62 lakh was drawn in cash for counter-insurgency operations and the balance amount was deposit at call receipt in State Bank of India, Haflong branch. Though the amount was converted into deposit at call receipt, the same was not taken into account in the closing balance of the main cash book. Audit scrutiny further revealed that the deposit at call receipt was encashed by the Deputy Commissioner the very next day but the amount was neither recorded in the cash book nor in any voucher. The Deputy Commissioner also did not clarify the whereabouts of the money, the CAG added.

The CAG report said that the amount of Rs 20 lakh meant for counter-insurgency operations remained unaccounted, which tantamounted to misappropriation of Government money.

Interestingly, the matter was reported to the Government in February, 2010 but the office of the Accountant General did not receive any reply till August, 2010.

Interestingly, during the test check of the records of the office of the DC, NC Hills, the CAG found a specific case of misappropriation of Rs 1.26 crore. The CAG report said that the failure of the DC to conduct necessary checks as per the financial rules as the drawing and disbursing officer led to the misappropriation of the amount.