Topic Identifier

Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: CAG says SIC caused loss of revenue by non-imposition of penalty; frowns financial irregularities

  1. #1
    Atul Patankar
    Blog Entries
    Rep Power

    CAG says SIC caused loss of revenue by non-imposition of penalty; frowns financial irregularities

    Press release by noted activist krishnaraj Rao on 22 Sept 2010

    It isn’t only RTI activists pointing fingers at Maharashtra’s Chief Information Commissioner Dr Suresh Joshi. State auditors have raised an eyebrow at “irregularities”, both financial and operational. The state audit report, recently unearthed by Pune activist Vihar Durve, rips apart the Chief SIC’s performance and confirms his critics’ allegations over the years.

    The document, titled ‘Inspection Report on the Accounts of the Secretary, Maharashtra State Information Commission, for the period from 21.10.2005 to 31.12.2008’, raises an eyebrow on two important observations: (1) Information Commission in general and the Chief SIC in particular were extremely lax in penalizing errant Public Information Officers, and (2) the SIC gave undue benefits to office suppliers. Needless to say, RTI appellants and taxpayers bore the cost of this generosity to PIOs and suppliers – and this was reported by State auditors to the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG).

    But a third damning fact emerges from the SIC’s written rejoinder to this report: In June or July 2008, Maharashtra State Information Commission ordered computers and peripherals worth Rs 7.12 lakh, and back-dated these orders by three or four months so as to draw funds from the previous year’s financial budget.

    Under the heading ‘Other irregularities’, subhead ‘Non recovery of liquidated damages for delay in supply of materials’, the state audit report notes that the Rate Contract stipulated that: “if the vendor fails to deliver any or all of the equipments within the time period specified in the contract (4 weeks from the date of issue of supply order), the buyer shall deduct the liquidated damages equivalent to 0.5 percent of the price for each week or part thereof during which the delivery of stores is delayed... Scrutiny of records relating to purchase of computers and other peripherals revealed that the supply order was placed on 29.3.2008. However, the supplies were effected in the middle of July 2008. Even though there was a delay of 10 weeks in supply, no penalty was levied or recovered from the Rate Contract firms as detailed.” Ten personal computers, seven notebook computers and ten printers -- totally worth Rs 7,12,310 -- were ordered from three firms viz. Supertron Electronics, ACE Brain Systems & Software, and HCL Info System Ltd. “Thus the department has not levied and recovered the penalty amounting to Rs. 35,616 from the above three firms for delayed supplies…” the report notes.

    SIC’s rejoinder to the audit report is even more telling: “It is stated that though supply order bears the date 29.3.2008, they were dispatched late. Considering late issuance of supply order, the material was received in time.” In other words, the SIC wants us to believe that the order was written and signed two days before the end of the financial year, but lay in somebody’s drawer for over two-and-a-half months before being dispatched. Is that plausible? And if so, does this chain of events make this supply contract legal and legitimate?

    According to some accountants and tax-consultants, here is a better explanation of the events: In June or July 2008, the Chief SIC decided to purchase computers worth Rs 7.12 lakh from the previous year’s budget before finalizing the books of account. So he misused his powers to “cook the books”. The Chief SIC – directly appointed by the Governor to maintain transparency and accountability in Maharashtra – did the following:
    i) colluded with office staff to subvert record-keeping and accounting mechanisms and create a supply-contract that falsely appears to have been written three to months earlier i.e. forgery and falsification of documents
    ii)convinced three private suppliers to accept such a contract i.e. conspiracy and corruption
    iii) succeeded in drawing lakhs of rupees from the previous year’s budget in the second quarter of the next fiscal year i.e. financial fraud.

    The audit report also raps the retiring Chief SIC on the knuckles for not penalizing Public Information Officers. Under the heading “Other irregularities”, subhead “Non levy and recovery of penalties u/s 20 of the Act”, the report says, “Against 17,336 cases disposed off, penalty of 18,52,850 was levied in respect of 143 cases and in three cases departmental enquiries were recommended by Commission as detailed below:

    Section of Act
    No of cases received
    No of cases disposed off
    No of cases penalized
    Amount of penalty levied
    12.10.2005 to 31.12.2006


    Rs 1,00,000
    1.1.2007 to 31.12.2007

    Rs 17,52,850

    Departmental Enquiry
    1.1.2008 to 31.12.2008


    Grand Total


    “Out of the 17336 cases of appeals and complaints under section 19(3) and (18(1) so far disposed, penalty and departmental enquiry was imposed by the commission only in respect of 143 and 3 cases respectively. No penalty was imposed in respect of balance 17190 cases, which were disposed of without any penal action,” the report grimly remarks about the State Commission as a whole. In Dr Suresh Joshi’s own performance, it noted, In 21 cases disposed of at the level of Chief Information Commissioner, penalty of Rs 2,20,000 was imposed, during 1.1.2008 to 31.12.2008. Out of this, the penalty of Rs 2,500 in three cases only were reported to have been recovered and credited to government account.”

    So the Chief SIC found less than one percent of the PIOs brought before him guilty, and penalty was recovered from about one percent of that one percent. In other words, the message that goes out is: If you are a PIO in Maharashtra whose case actually goes before the SIC, don’t worry, the chances of your being penalized are about one in 10,000!

    The state audit report raises questions about many other irregularities at the State Information Commission, including discrepancies in maintenance of cash books and cash management.


    1) State audit report Maharashtra State Information Commission’s accounts: State audit Objections to Maharashtra SIC accounts.pdf - File Shared from - Free Online File Storage

    2) State Information Commission’s reply to auditors: SIC's reply to Auditors.pdf - File Shared from - Free Online File Storage

    3) Open letter to SIC written in Marathi by prominent RTI activists of Pune: Open Letter written by Vihar Durve & others to SIC.pdf - File Shared from - Free Online File Storage
    Suggestion: Eight prominent activists who are signatories to this letter may be contacted for sound-bites. Their phone numbers are with their signatures in this letter.

    4) Recent photos of Dr Suresh Joshi for publication: Dr Suresh Joshi photos - Folder Shared from - Free Online File Storage

    a) Please write complaints based on these facts to the Governor, Chief Secretary and General Administration Department to have Dr Suresh Joshi unceremoniously removed for corruption and moral turpitude. We all know that that his term is ending this month, but he needs to be unceremoniously removed.

    b) Write letters & petitions asking the government to examine financial dealings during his entire five-year tenure.

    c) Study Maharashtra Civil Service Rules for remedial action -- especially rules 2(c), 6, 7 and 8: Maharashtra Civil Services Rules1 (1979)-WEBSITE(20)_9_July_08.htm - File Shared from - Free Online File Storage

    d) Study Central Govt.’s Manual of Office Procedure for remedial action: Manual of Office Procedure Central Govt.doc - File Shared from - Free Online File Storage
    NOTE: In this file, blue highlights are for record-keeping: How different sorts of files and records are maintained, catalogued, referenced and destroyed. Yellow highlights are for disciplining and penalizing govt. employees: Matters concerning various kinds of disciplinary proceedings, suspension etc. of different classes of officers. Also, monitoring compliance with court judgments, orders of Central Administrative Tribunal, audit objections etc. Green highlights are for follow-up of citizens complaints, representations, petitions etc: The methods used for the government departments to take cognizance of citizens’ concerns.

    e) Study Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 for remedial action, especially sections 11, 12 and 13: THE PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION ACT, 1988.doc - File Shared from - Free Online File Storage

  2. #2

    Re: CAG says SIC caused loss of revenue by non-imposition of penalty; frowns financial irregularities

    This report should act as an eyeopener for the SIC. They should immediately set their house in order. They cannot still take shelter under the excuse that the Act and its implementation is in a nascent stage. Five years are over. That is time enough to get their acts together. But practically speaking, besides causing embarrassment, the Report will not achieve much. That is what past experience with such reports tells us.

  3. #3
    Atul Patankar
    Blog Entries
    Rep Power

    Re: CAG says SIC caused loss of revenue by non-imposition of penalty; frowns financial irregularities

    As reported by Anand Mishra at on 26 Sept 2010

    आरटीआई के जरिए महाराष्ट्र सूचना आयोग में चल रही एक ऐसी धांधली का पता चला है जिस पर 'चिराग तले अंधेरा' की कहावत बिलकुल फिट बैठ रही है। महाराष्ट्र राज्य सूचना आयोग जिसका काम सूचना के अधिकार को ठीक से कार्यान्वित कराने का है, अपना ही सामान्य प्रशासन ठीक ढंग से नहीं कर रहा है और ऑफिस के साजो-सामान की खरीदी में काफी बड़े पैमाने पर घोटाले की आशंका जताई जा रही है। इससे विभाग की विश्वसनीयता पर सवाल उठ गया है।

    खबर है कि जुलाई 2008 में सूचना आयोग ने करीब सवा सात लाख के कंप्यूटर व लैपटॉप खरीदे थे। पता चला है कि ये सामान 2008-09 के बजट से नहीं, बल्कि 2007-08 के बजट से खरीदा गया था। लेकिन कागजों में हेराफेरी करते हुए इसकी खरीदी का ऑर्डर पिछले वित्त वर्ष की समाप्ति से ठीक दो दिन पहले जारी हुआ दिखाया गया है।

    यह खुलासा आरटीआई कार्यकर्ता विहार दुर्वे के सवाल के जवाब में आया है जिसमें उन्होंने कंम्ट्रोलर जनरल द्वारा जारी ऑडिट रिपोर्ट को सूचना अधिकार के जरिए मांगा था। रिपोर्ट से पता चलता है कि 29 मार्च 2008 को कंप्यूटर व लैपटॉप खरीदी के लिए आर्डर जारी किए गए। सामान सप्लाई करने वाली कंपनियों के साथ खरीदी का आदेश जारी करते वक्त शर्त रखी गई थी कि अगर वह 4 सप्ताह के अंदर सप्लाई नहीं करती हैं तो देरी के लिए उन पर कुल खरीदी मूल्य पर 0.05 प्रतिशत का जुर्माना प्रति सप्ताह लगेगा।

    इस तरह अप्रैल 2008 के अंतिम सप्ताह तक सप्लाई न होने की स्थिति में सप्लाई करने वाली कंपनियों पर शर्त के अनुसार 35,616 रुपए का ज़ुर्माना लगाया जाना था। आरटीआई के जवाब से पता चला है कि (आयोग के ही रिकार्ड के मुताबिक) यह सप्लाई जुलाई 2008 में हुई। लेकिन कंपनी पर जुर्माना नहीं लगाया गया। ऑडिट टीम ने सप्लाई में ढाई महीने की देरी के बावजूद कंपनियों पर पेनल्टी न लगाने के लिए आयोग से जवाब मांगा।

    आयोग ने ऑडिट ऑब्जेक्शन का जवाब दिया कि कंपनी ने सप्लाई में देरी नहीं की है, सप्लाई तो समय पर हुई है लेकिन परचेज़ आर्डर कंपनी को देने में देरी हुई थी। विहार दुर्वे के अनुसार, अब सवाल यह उठता है कि अगर कंपनी ने जुलाई 2008 में सप्लाई करके भी 4 सप्ताह की निर्धारित समय सीमा का पालन किया है, जैसा कि सूचना आयोग के जवाब में दावा किया गया है, तो क्या इसका मतलब है कि कंपनियों को परचेज़ ऑर्डर जून 2008 में दिया गया था? और अगर कंपनियों को यह परचेज ऑर्डर जून 2008 में दिया गया था तो 29 मार्च 2008 से लेकर जून 2008 तक यह किसके पास और क्यों पड़ा रहा, क्योंकि यह कोई छोटा मोटा परचेज़ आर्डर नहीं था।

    आशंका जताई जा रही है कि यह एक किस्म का घोटाला है जिसमें पिछले वित्त वर्ष के बजट से फर्जी तरीके से खरीद फरोख्त की गई है। इसमें कागजों में हेराफेरी की गई है ताकि जुलाई में जारी परचेज आदेश को पिछले वित्त वर्ष के अंतिम सप्ताह में भी दिखाया जा सके। काफी कोशिशों के बावजूद राज्य के मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त सुरेश जोशी से संपर्क नहीं किया जा सका।


    RTI INDIA: Invoking Your Rights. We provide easy ways to request, analyze & share Government documents by use of Right to Information and by way of community support.

Follow us on

Twitter Facebook Apple App Store Google Play for Android