The Delhi cabinet may be defending chief minister Sheila Dikshit by claiming she took only policy decisions while they were implemented by bureaucrats, but the CAG report clearly nails their lie.
The audit report has pointed out that Dikshit took certain important decisions which cost the government exchequer dear.
Whether it was to buy potted plants or use imported lights, the report claims these projects got through only after Dikshit's approval. This led to considerable avoidable expenditure, the report states.
For example, agencies under the Delhi government spent Rs 24 crore on potted plants. The objective was to decorate and turn green the venues with these plants. But it had to be abandoned after the Delhi Police raised security concerns.
In August 2008, when the Delhi chief secretary had sought the immediate approval of the CM to create a large pool of potted plants, Dikshit had approved it.
"We could not find any venue- wise break- up of the plants required or any other yardstick in support of the assessment of the requirement of the plants," the report said.
The Delhi government had sanctioned Rs 28 crore for this project.
It was found that most of the potted plants were procured instead of being created in the departmental nurseries as was originally envisaged.
The city police commissioner, meanwhile, intimated the government that the plants were kept away from the venues and the routes because of security concerns. But the report found that the plants were procured even after this intimation.
The PWD said after the Games, about 79,000 of the 3.82 lakh potted plants procured by them, perished because they were seasonal ones. The rest were distributed among various government offices. Surprisingly, when the audit team visited two of those sites at random, they could not find any of the over three lakh potted plants said to have been issued by the PWD. Similar is the case of the imported luminaries. Sample luminaries of some of the leading manufacturers - both imported and indigenous ones - were shown to the CM. Based on the inspection and approval of Dikshit, the PWD decided to use the imported ones, and the MCD and the NDMC also followed suit. The PWD, incidentally, comes under Dikshit's supervision.
All three executed the street lighting project on about an 800 km-stretch at a tendered cost of Rs 286 crore.
Claiming that Dikshit's decision led to wasteful expenditure of Rs 31.07 crore, the report said: "The technical specifications did not distinguish between indigenous and imported luminaries.
The imported ones were procured at a far higher cost, leading to avoidable extra expenditure of Rs 31.07 crore." Their technical specifications were, in fact, identical, the report added.
Dikshit had said in February 2006 that the Capital should have state-of-the-art road signages for the Games. The project was then taken up by the state's PWD. The CAG report said the design modifications were of little utility and the manner of implementation uneconomical, leading to a higher cost of execution. These extra and substituted items led to an additional avoidable expenditure of Rs 14.88 crore.
The CAG report also highlights how private firm IL& FS was paid an exorbitant amount to remove debris from some Commonwealth Games sites. Satya Prakash and Brothers Private Ltd was awarded the contract for removing the debris at Rs 73.42 per metric ton, but didn't clear it from some sites. IL& FS was roped in to clear the debris and paid Rs 280.32 per metric ton. The government also was unable to recover the cost from the defaulting contractor.
This gains significance as the BJP has accused Dikshit of favouring IL& FS as she reportedly had a relative holding a senior post in the firm.