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CWG Contractor Paid Twice For Same Job: CAG Probe

NEW DELHI: V K Shunglu, former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) who heads the investigation into the Commonwealth "scam", will have to hit the ground running, with evidence pouring in of irregularities in expenditure of
PTI October 17, 2010 9:07 IST
PTI

NEW DELHI: V K Shunglu, former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) who heads the investigation into the Commonwealth "scam", will have to hit the ground running, with evidence pouring in of irregularities in expenditure of public money. 

In a clear case of nexus between government agencies and contractors engaged for Games-related projects, a preliminary probe by CAG has established that the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) paid a contractor twice for the same job at Talkatora swimming pool complex, reports Times of India. 

The first payment was made as part of the main contract worth Rs 200 crore. That should have been sufficient. But CPWD went on to show rare generosity to the contractor, Ahluwalia Constructions, handing them an additional contract for a job already covered by the main contract. In short, the contractor got paid twice for the same job. 

The alleged swindle confirms what has always been suspected: that the Games "loot- fest" was not limited to the Organizing Committee headed by Suresh Kalmadi. Central and Delhi government agencies entrusted with Games work also participated in it. The CAG's first set of "Preliminary Audit Memos" on projects linked to the Games have put the spotlight on the CPWD, which works under the Union urban development ministry. 

The Comptroller and Auditor General's first set of "Preliminary Audit Memos" on Games projects have put the spotlight on the CPWD, which is under the Union urban development ministry. The urban development ministry is headed by S Jaipal Reddy. CPWD carried out construction and related work on behalf of the Sports Authority of India in five stadia -- the Talkatora swimming pool complex, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, National Stadium and the Karni Singh Shooting Range. 

According to the "Running Account Payments" system, disbursals are made to contractors based on work progress before the "Final Payment" bill is submitted. CAG has found that CPWD released payments for the same service building in two separate instances. The total project size is about Rs 5 crore. The auditors have also raised questions regarding tax deductions, which yet again have raised doubts about the integrity of payment releasing methods. CPWD has paid taxes on behalf of the contractors, despite TDS being part of the total contract amount, the memos have pointed out. 

It's an indication of the number of irregularities that are emerging that the CAG has raised almost a dozen audit memos -- or queries about apparent irregularities -- in the Talkatora swimming pool project alone. Hence, the CAG is likely to focus on the larger projects. 

These are the first set of audit memos on any games related projects. The only other communication from CAG thus far has been the "Inspection Report" of the accounts of the OC issued in August. According to authoritative sources, the CAG's first formal reports on the Organising Committee, and agencies such as the Delhi government, CPWD and DDA will not be out before December.