The Comptroller and Auditor General has dropped the “faulty” 14 charges it had made against Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar with regards to the first International Film Festival of India held in Goa, bringing much relief to him as his image of “clean” politician had taken quite a beating over the report resulting in even a Central Bureau of Investigation probing the matter.
It would be pertinent to note that Manohar Parrikar had always maintained that the charges made by CAG were due to the fact that the officers could not answer the queries raised by it probably because they were not the ones who dealt with the matter since there was a major re-shuffle in the administration following the change in the government.
The CAG has dropped the 14 charges as satisfactory explanation for it was provided. The charges dropped include payment of bonus; defective clause in the agreement; undue favour to the contractor; restoration and upgradation of facilities at Kala Academy abnormal variation; award of work at rates higher than market rates; deficient contract management; non levy of liquidated damages; non-recovery of mobilization advance; award of work without land acquisition; idle charges; incorrect estimation of quantity for dredging work; variations; consultants for Kala Academy Works; appointment of consultants for road package works.
Following this development, the Public Accounts Committee has recommended that the remaining nine charges be also dropped as the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation has given satisfactory replies.
The nine charges to be dropped are: defective or non-transparent bidding process and evaluation; award of contract at higher cost; avoidable expenditure on INOX appointed consultant; improvement and beautification of roads and allied works; irregular award of contract; appointment of consultant; appointment of lead consultant; wasteful expenditure on abandoned projects.
The PAC has also asked the CAG office to enquire as to how incorrect findings were given which resulted in the “faulty” charges being made.
The PAC had constituted a sub-committee under Mapusa legislator Francis D’Souza, Nilkanth Halarnkar and Damodar Naik to look into this matter and held 22 meetings with CAG and Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation officials before submitting its report.
While Parrikar refused to be part of the committee in view of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry against him, Halarnkar ceased to be member of the sub-committee after being inducted into the cabinet in June, 2010.