CAG finds irregularities in payment of Haryana MLAs' free travel



Chandigarh: Several Haryana MLAs of the ruling Congress and the main Opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) have been caught on the wrong foot with government auditor CAG discovering irregularities in the payment of free travel facility claims amounting to Rs 1.22 crore.

While checking records of the Secretary, Haryana Vidhan Sabha (HVS), the CAG found that payment of free travel facility was made twice in a year to as many as 26 MLAs during the 11th and 12th Assembly, which was against rules.

The legislators included Parliamentary Affairs, Industries and Commerce Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala, Excise and Taxation Minister Kiran Chaudhary, Finance Minister H S Chatha, Leader of Opposition Om Prakash Chautala and Congress MLA Vinod Kumar Sharma.

"In contravention to the codal provisions, 26 members (Haryana Assembly) were paid free travel facility twice in a financial year resulting in excess payment of Rs 50.73 lakh," said the CAG report, which was tabled yesterday in Haryana Assembly.

The free travel facility was admissible up to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh per annum, but in the audit, it was noticed that 26 re-elected members of the 12th HVS were paid free travel facility between November 2009 and February 2010, though members had already availed the facility between April and June 2009 when they were members of the 11th HVS, it added.

Among prominent members who were paid twice in a year included Chautala (Rs 1.92 lakh), Surjewala (Rs 2 lakh), Kiran Chaudhary (Rs 80,900), Savitri Jindal and Chatha (Rs 2 lakh each) and Vinod Sharma (Rs 2 lakh).

However, Secretary, HVS during the exit conference stated that free travel facility was extended twice in a year only to those MLAs who were re-elected to the new Assembly. Rejecting this contention, the CAG noted that these MLAs had drawn free travel facility twice during the 2009-10 fiscal.

Haryana Legislative Assembly (Allowances and Pension of Members) Act, 1975 provides for free travel facility to every member of the Assembly up to Rs 2 lakh, once in a fiscal.

In its further findings, the CAG also discovered that 15 Haryana MLAs including BJP MLA Anil Vij, Congress MLA Geeta Bhukkal were paid both free travel facility as well as travelling allowance for the same period.

PTI