Mysore: Administrative Training Institute Director-General Rashmi Mahesh, who was attacked by protesting ATI staff last week, has mentioned about another major scam involving Rs 17.81 crore during the tenure of her predecessor Dr Amita Prasad, in her report to the state government. Ms Rashmi has filed a 22-page report to the chief secretary listing out irregularities to the tune of over Rs 100 crore when Dr Prasad was heading the institute (which includes State Institute of Rural Development and State Institute of Urban Development) between 2008 and 2014.
She has reported direct allotment of works related to the Centre for Disaster Management (CDM) at the institute by Dr Prasad to private agencies in violation of the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement (KTPP) Act. According to her, the misappropriation is to the tune of Rs 17,81,160. The CDM was set up in 2001 by the Union Home Ministry and National Institute of Disaster Management at ATI. It received Rs 30 lakh per year from NIDM between 2007 and 2012 and also total grants of Rs 3.45 crore from the 13th Finance Commission. It received Rs 90 lakh on May 20, 2012 and returned Rs 15 lakh. Also, the Finance Commission released Rs 105 lakh on December 15, 2012 and another Rs 165 lakh on September 16, 2012.
Ms Rashmi has charged that Dr Prasad directly entrusted works on the digitisation of District Disaster Management Plans under the “Technology Automation for Management of Emergency and Disasters” (TAMED) to Wizards/Whitesun Technology, a private agency. Though the conditions mentioned before releasing the funds clearly mention that the KTPP Act should be followed scrupulously and that no norms of financial propriety be violated, the then DG directly approved 18 different files to 18 districts, based on a two-page requisition letter.
The approvals were given without adhering to any procedures to decide rates, without following the KTPP Act, without assessing the scope of work or requirement, without testing the software and without according equal opportunity to other software companies. Rs 64 lakh granted to the ATI by the Revenue Department has been released to Wizards/Whitesun, the report states. Ms Rashmi points out that without any approvals from the Revenue Department and violating all conditions of grant allocation, the then DG unilaterally used disaster management funds for ostensibly developing the software.
Though the software has been stated to be developed, it has not been handed over to the ATI till date. No details of stock and issue or register entries are available. Phones have been purchased from a single source with no tenders, she states in the report. TAMED is said to be a disaster management technology software with real time wireless synchronisation to collect, store, communicate, coordinate, and present authentic information with GPS location and time. It was supposed to help prepare scientific district disaster management plan and provide district/taluk level officers resources to deal with crisis.