Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 15:
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Bijoy Mohapatra today dropped a bombshell alleging large scale defalcation to the tune of about Rs 100 crore in the Corpus Fund of Sri Jagannath temple of Odisha’s Puri.
“The AG in its audit report on the accounts of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration submitted on December 21, 2015 has pointed out financial irregularities/mismanagement to the tune of about Rs 100 crore from the Rs 322 crore Corpus Fund of the temple,” alleged Mohapatra in his inimitable style at a press conference here citing December 2015 audit report by the AG (G&SSA).
“Allegations of fiscal indiscipline in the management of Sri Jagannath temple is certainly a black chapter for all of us, which has brought more disrepute and ignominy for Odisha in across India,” the senior BJP lamented.
Deficiencies in the management of Foundation Fund of the temple has resulted in huge losses, Mohapatra alleged citing the audit report.
“The audit report has cited that even separate cashbooks for collections received through hundis/donation boxes have not been maintained,” the senior BJP leader said.
Mohapatra said that even management of lands belonging to Sri Jagannath temple has not been done in proper manner.
“60,000 acres of land belonging to Sri Jagannath temple has not been properly managed nor it has been identified. Irregular adoption of benchmark value as the market value of lands has resulted in a loss to the temple. Besides, land for new bus stand was sold at a lower value. Further, the audit report has found the irregular payment of Rs 15 crore for acquisition of land for construction of another 30-ft wide road around the temple,” Mohapatra alleged.
The senior BJP leader while seeking criminal proceedings against concerned officials of the temple management and district administration demanded a two-hour debate over the audit report during the forthcoming two-day special session of the state Assembly.
Mohapatra questioned as to why officials of the temple administration did not partake documents to the audit party to complete its audit.
However, former Sri Jagannath Temple Administration’s Chief Administrator Suresh Mohapatra has termed the allegations as baseless and has claimed that the Corpus Fund of the temple was safe and secure.
Ruling party BJD, on the other hand, has said that Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was the appropriate body to examine the findings of the AG.
“I have gone through the reaction of former Chief Administrator Suresh Mohapatra that the allegations are baseless. Since it is a report of the AG, the PAC is the appropriate body to examine it,” said BJD spokesperson Amar Satpathy in his reactions on the BJP leader’s allegations based on AG’s audit report.