Bihar MLAs, MLCs fudge records to cash in on rail benefits: 3 trips in 1 day

FP

Can one undertake train journeys in three different directions the same day? Can one be present in Patna and be travelling out of the city at the same time? Can one travel by train and plane simultaneously?

Yes, they can if they are legislators of the Bihar Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. This is what the yet-to-be-published report of the state's Principal Accountant General (PAG) has found in an audit of the two Houses from March 2009 to March 2012. Bihar has 243 MLAs and 75 MLCs.

A copy of the operative part of the PAG report, dealing with the audit of the Assembly secretariat, is available with The Indian Express.

According to sources, the state government has forwarded the PAG's findings, including on the "misuse" of rail travel coupons (RTCs), to the Vidhan Sabha Secretariat for answers on the questions it has raised. In its final stages, the PAG report will come out in February-March next year. The findings:

54 legislators claimed to have travelled in more than one direction the same day on 142 occasions, six of them in three directions. One such MLA showed he had travelled from Patna to Azam Nagar Road, Patna to New Delhi and New Delhi to Patna on February 15, 2010. Another member showed he had gone from Patna to Forbesganj, Forbesganj to Patna and again Patna to Forbesganj on November 17, 2010. Forbesganj is over 300 km from the state capital. Another legislator produced details of his travel from Patna to Delhi twice and Patna to Kishanganj the same day.

87 legislators availed Patna stay allowances even when they claimed to be travelling out of the state capital. They produced proof of 3,598 trips between April 2009 and March 2012, claimed allowances for stay in Patna 3,123 times. "This indicated that the journeys were not actually performed by the members concerned themselves," said the report.

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