- Various cesses have been collected by the BBMP over the years, amounting to Rs 760 crore.
- The cesses are collected for beggar rehabilitation, libraries and the health of the public.
- The funds are supposed to go to the Karnataka state, but the BBMP is yet to explain where it has spent the money.
The BBMP, which has been accused many times of misappropriating public funds in development projects, has now been accused of misappropriation of government cesses.
Every year, the BBMP collects cess of about Rs 750 crore in the form of library cess, beggary cess and health cess - which should be diverted to the State's treasury. However, the BBMP seems to have spent that fund and has not submitted any report.
Veeresh, a retired bank official and an RTI activist, had obtained a report from the State Audit Department which has put the BBMP administration on the back foot. The irregularities were found in the 2014-2015 audit report.
“The taxpayers in Bengaluru City Corporation limits have been religiously paying cess for library development, beggar rehabilitation, and health care. This amount they are giving to the government through the BBMP. But the civic body has used the funds instead of depositing with the state government, as per the report by the audit department. This is clear case of misappropriation of funds,” said Veeresh.
He further added that the BBMP has not only used the cess amount but had also not given any report on where the money has been spent. Activists had complained about the same to the BBMP Accounts Committee, BBMP Commissioner, Special Commissioner Finance Wing on BBMP, Urban Development Department, Anti-Corruption Bureau and the CM’s office. Still, nothing has happened.
"The Lokayukta will also be informed shortly about the irregularity. As a responsible citizen, I am doing a duty to get information about where the public money has gone,” he said.
BBMP Special Commissioner for Finance, Manoj Rajan, and Chief Audit Officer, Kumaraswamy, were not available for comment despite several attempts to reach them.
However, Netra Narayan, Chairperson for BBMP Accounts Department, says she is aware of the alleged scam in the BBMP but claimed that no complaints regarding the misappropriation of the cess amount had reached her office.
“I am getting to know about the irregularity now. I will get the file and investigate. The BBMP should not even touch a single pie from the cess amount as it has to go to Government and they will use for beneficiary schemes and projects in health, library and community development sector,” she said.
BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad defended the BBMP administration by saying, "We cannot treat everything as a scam. We have not yet replied to the report. As per the protocol, BBMP will give its reply to state audit department."
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:45 PM IST