ULB calls for special audit of Sopore Municipality funds

Mir Farhat
Srinagar, Feb 11: Days after a huge fund scam was exposed in Sopore Municipal Committee, the Urban Local Bodies has asked the Government to conduct a “special” audit of the funds pumped to the committee for four year from 2011 to 2014 and has also formed a departmental committee for probe.
Director Urban Local Bodies Hilal Ahmad Parray told Excelsior that he has written to the Government for a special audit after the fund diversion was detected in the committee.
“After the complaint, I have written to Auditor General to conduct a special audit of the funds sent to Sopore Municipal Committee in the four years from 2011 to 2014. Also, we have formed a departmental committee headed by the Deputy Director Planning to probe the whole affair,” Parray said.
Prompted by a complaint by the present Executive Officer Sopore Abdul Rashid about scheme funds having being diverted to pay salaries to “illegal” employees appointed in the committee from time to time, the department has started to act.
Rashid said that about 140 daily wagers and 175 permanent employees were illegally appointed in the municipal body in Sopore by his predecessor Latied Ahmad Mir and funds for schemes have been diverted to pay salaries.
The Director said that the audit of all municipal bodies is being conducted annually, “but we have sought a special audit for Sopore Municipal Committee after the complaint. We hope the special audit will be started very soon.”
Parray also admitted that illegal appointments have been made in the body in the past.
Earlier, Commissioner Secretary, Urban Local Bodies, Satish Nehru had also said that he has asked the Director (Urban Local Bodies) to probe the scam.
Sources in the ULB said the department has become a den of job mafia that is flourishing under politicians’ and bureaucratic patronage, leading to diversion of the department’s resources to paying salaries of the illegal employees.
Infact in 2011, the Vigilance Organisation had probed serious complaints of irregularities in the Urban Local Bodies Department and had sought details of the employees in dozens of towns in the Valley.
The Vigilance Organization had found that in the Sopore Municipal body, 22 illegal appointments were made and the probe had established the fact.
The then Executive Officer Latief Ahmad Mir was suspended and chargesheeted. But the follow up action of the Government was on expected lines and Mir was reinstated and sent back to head the Sopore municipal body.

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