Tuesday, August 30, 2011

RTO scam: Still waiting to hear from state, CAG tells HC

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has intimated the Gujarat high court that his office did not hear about any measure initiated by the Gujarat government in a case involving alleged monetary irregularities by RTO. The irregularities, to the tune of Rs 693 crore, were highlighted in 2006 to be in the Check Post Automation System (CPAS) by RTO.
In an affidavit filed by deputy accountant general, the CAG office told the court that it sticks to the report it submitted in 2006 and maintained that the discrepancies were noticed during audit. To court’s earlier question whether CAT heard about any remedial measure on the part of the government, the affidavit said that nothing was communicated from the state government’s end.
Following this, the bench headed by chief justice asked the state government as to which agency should probe this alleged scam. The government sought time to reply to this question. The PIL filed through advocate Tejas Barot has sought CBI probe in this financial irregularity.
The court also asked the Centre’s counsel whether CAG would conduct audit in this scam further and find out the possible irregularity till 2001. CAG has expressed readiness to conduct further audit in this issue.
Citing CAG report of 2006, the petitioner has claimed that when former minister Amit Shah was holding the portfolio of department of ports and transports, the contract for Automatic Vehicle Entry Tax Collection was awarded to Chasmita Engineers Pvt. Ltd. But during this period the system was not functional at 10 different check posts including Shamlaji, Bhilad, Songadh and Dahod. The system was introduced in 2000 as part of technical reforms in the department.
The company has been alleged of causing huge losses to state exchequer in collusion with high-level officials. Even after the CAG report highlighted the scam in 2006, the company’s contract was renewed at the behest of Shah, which resulted in revenue loss of nearly Rs 700693 crore by entering invalid transaction dates, invalid registration numbers and most importantly by making mischief in calculating weight, as most vehicles are overloaded.
Further hearing on this PIL is kept on September 6.

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