Mumbai, Mar 25 (IANS): The Accountant General (Audit-I) Maharashtra has rebuked the country's biggest and richest civic body, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), for certain lapses and irregularities in a Special Audit of 76 identified works worth Rs 12,000 crore.
The audit, covering nine key BMC departments, was performed for works carried out between November 28, 2019 - the day when Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) came to power in the state and Uddhav Thackeray took oath as the Chief Minister - and October 31, 2022.
Ordered on October 31, 2022 by the new government headed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the audit also included the expenditure on 13 Jumbo Covid Centres, 24 ward offices, five major hospitals, six specialised hospitals, 17 peripheral hospitals, one dental hospital and others.
However, the BMC had sent a legal notice to the CAG on November 17, 2022, not to go ahead with any audit of acts, works or decisions taken for Covid management or expenditure of Rs 3,538.73 crore, referring to the Epidemic Act, 1897 and Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The state government, in November 2022, rubbished the BMC's contentions, and despite many reminders, the Mumbai civic body did not produce records related to Covid-19 management.
Accordingly, the Special Audit has omitted the Covid-19 management part on grounds that without the relevant records, no confirmation can be made in audit on the propriety, efficiency, economy and effectiveness of Covid 19 related expenditure by BMC.
"Needless to mention that non-cooperation of BMC in producing the Covid-19 management records for the purpose of Special Audit, apart from impinging on the Constitutional Aresponsibilities devolved on the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, also deprived BMC of crucial audit inputs. As per the powers and functions entrusted under Constitution and DPC Act and in keeping with legal replies filed as mentioned above, further appropriate steps, are reserved," said the Audit Report.
Established in 1873, the BMC administers an area of 480 sq km through three divisions, seven zones and 24 Wards, that makes up the country's commercial capital.