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Lodge FIR on missing files, Odisha govt orders BDA

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Reported by Ajit Dash

Bhubaneswar, July 24:

Chastened by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), the Housing and Urban Development (H & UD) department of the Odisha government has written a strongly worded letter to the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) asking it to take immediate action and lodge an FIR on the issue of four crucial files that have gone missing.

BDAThe files in question pertain to the approval given to the plans of four high rise buildings in Bhubaneswar, which the CAG is probing. The concerned file numbers are BP-2B 622/05, BP-2B-869/05, BP-2B-1496/07 and BP-2B-1230/06.

The letter written to BDA vice chairman Vishal Dev by BC Mohapatra, joint secretary of the Housing and Urban Development department, follows a letter written to the department secretary G Mathivathanan by the Deputy Accountant General (DAG) C V Raghavan seeking a response in the matter.

In his letter, the DAG had said if a reply was not received by July 18, it would be assumed that the state government had no explanation in the matter. The H & UD department comes after the expiry of the deadline given by the CAG.

At a meeting with top state government officials on the issue on January 21, 2013, the CAG had expressed its dissatisfaction over the missing files and the refusal of the authorities to act in the matter in no uncertain terms.

The then principal secretary of the H & UD department, who was present at the meeting, had described the issue as a ‘grave matter’ and had ordered the BDA to compile the file again and hand it over to the audit officials urgently.

But surprisingly, instead of complying with the order of its parent department, the BDA had sought to pass the buck to the vigilance department saying the agency had seized the files in question.

The vigilance department, however, soon nailed BDA’s lie making it clear that the concerned files were not with it.

Even after being caught with its pants down, BDA sat tight on the matter and refused to take any action for well over a year and a half.

With the H & UD now wielding the stick, it remains to be seen of BDA relents and finally takes action in the matter.