Audit report reveals irregularities within scam-hit Vyapam
For at least two financial years after the Vyapam scam was uncovered in Madhya Pradesh in July 2013, administrative and financial irregularities running into crores of rupees continued unchecked within the examination board, reveals an audit report.Glaring irregularities such as unjustified recruitment of volunteers, posting of security guards hired by Vyapam at private bungalows, recruitment of officials on fake community certificates, and the use of whitener and overwriting in cash books, have come to the fore in the audit report for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.The Directorate of Local Fund Audit of the Department of Finance in its report submitted to Vyapam in 2017 stated such irregularities “were an open invitation to fraud and embezzlement”. In almost all the instances of financial irregularities, it said “related persons/officials” had to repay the board for the funds used. The Hindu is in possession of a copy of the report.Scam rekindledThe scam has been rekindled as State Home Minister Bala Bachchan recently said the government did not possess the anonymous letter received by the Indore Police on June 20, 2013, that blew the lid off the scam. The scam involved 13 different examinations conducted by the Vyapam or the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board for recruitment to government jobs and admissions to educational institutions in the State. In August 2013, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government constituted a Special Task Force to probe the scam. The Central Bureau of Investigation took over in July 2015.In the two years, while the STF was investigating the scam, several officials were recruited to the board on a false premise. “The board, a respectable organisation which recruits personnel in other Departments, itself has recruited personnel on fake SC/ST certificates, which shows the absence of vigilance within it,” says the report. ‘Against rules’Moreover, the team noted that in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, the board hired volunteers and daily wage workers “against the rules and in an objectionable way” and paid them ₹1,21,94,751 as salary. “It is unclear which work were the volunteers required for, in what numbers and of what category. It is unclear through which process they were recruited and for how long, whether there were vacancies and the work done by them monitored,” says the report. “In the absence of permission from the government to create posts for these volunteers, the payment made to these volunteers stands nullified and should be recovered from individual payers,” says the report. The report says ₹14,25,952 was paid to 23 volunteers in 2013-2014 and 13 in 2014-2015, although they had “not signed against their names” in the attendance records. Notes from officials The volunteers received their salaries based on notes sent by higher officials. “In the records, in some places in front of their names ‘Secretary’ or ‘honourable Minister’ was found to be written,” the report reveals. In 2013-2014, as much as ₹2,14,925 was paid to guards of Krishna Security, a Bhopal-based firm, from the board’s coffers, but they were posted at private houses and bungalows. ‘Neglect of duty’ Moreover, in the cash books of the financial years audited, says the report, several figures under the cash and bank columns had been changed using whitener or by overwriting, without being attested by the competent authority. The team noted that the use of whitener “could make fraud possible and thereby damage the credibility of the board”. “The scam wouldn’t have happened in the first place if there was an internal audit of confidential payments,” said State Law Minister P.C. Sharma. He said he was not aware of the audit report.