BHUBANESWAR: Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) has begun an in-house inquiry into payment by allottees of houses between 1992 and 2013 after it came to light that some of them had faked payments. BDA secretary Shreekant Kabi is leading the probe, government sources said.
The development follows an audit by accountant general (AG), Odisha, which pointed out a misappropriation of Rs 11.59 lakh between February 2008 and May 2011. The AG had come across the fraud during performance audit for the period 2002-2003 to 2011-2012.
Ten allottees of Jatni Housing Scheme had submitted 52 fake challans towards payment of their installment dues, the AG pointed out. It also found misappropriation of Rs 1.05 lakh by tampering with 44 challans towards deposit of plan approval between January 2009 and April 2011.
The AG had asked the BDA to comply with the findings.
Additional chief secretary (housing and urban development) Injeti Srinivas recently wrote a letter to AG Amar Patnaik informing him about the in-house inquiry by the BDA secretary. BDA has also asked the vigilance (police) to separately investigate the matter, he said.
Srinivas wrote that after the audit findings, show-cause notices for cancellation of the allotment to the 10 specified allottees have already been served. Besides, the internal auditor has started a special audit of the allotment and planning branch of BDA for the years 1992-93 and 2012-13.
To avert similar fraud in future, BDA has taken a number of initiatives, Srinivas wrote. The development authority has stopped issuing hand-written challans and replaced them with computer-generated ones. The agency has also stopped handwritten bank statements and is insisting on computerized records with due authentication by the bank official on each page. The allotment and planning sections of BDA are undertaking cross-verification of the bank statements and challans. The agency has also fixed accountability for the challans and bank scrolls at each level, the additional chief secretary (H&UD) wrote to the AG.
BDA has also introduced an e-payment gateway for online payment to the customers. The financial management system of the agency is being restructured to bring in more safeguards, sources said.