PALAMPUR: The special audit team constituted by the Himachal Raod Transport Corporation had detected a scamÂ in Palampur depot ofÂ HRTCÂ pertaining to buses given on hire to congress partyÂ for Sonia Gandhiâ€™sÂ rally held in DharmshalaÂ in October, 30,Â 2006.
According to information gathered by this correspondent fromÂ HRTCÂ sources it was learnt that in October 2006, when Sonia Gandhi visited Dharmshala, congress party hired 38 buses from the HRTC depot of Palampur for the rally of Mrs. Gandhi, but no payment was deposited in the HRTC account by the congress party, whereas under rules the HRTC had to receive the hire charges in advance. Audit party in its report had pointed out that over 90,000/- was to be deposited in theÂ HRTC account, neither congress party paid this amount nor any officer of the HRTC dared to ask the party to make the payments till date.
Enquiry made by the correspondent further revealed that the buses were given on hire to congress party on the directionsÂ of higher authorities from Shimla.Â It is also learnt that the Regional Manager was asked to provide the buses immediately and payments would be made in due course.Â Later onÂ no office bearer of the congress party came forward to make the payments.Â In December 2007, whenÂ congress partyÂ was voted out of power in state then the scam came in the notice, the MD,Â HRTC,Â who orderedÂ special audit of HRTC depot Palampur and detected the scam.
The audit team hadÂ also detected another scam in the same depot of HRTC, it is learnt that HRTCÂ provided three specialÂ busesÂ to a private partyÂ from Palampur to Delhi on 27 July 2006. In fact these buses were provided as special buses,Â but in HRTC recordÂ per passenger ticketsÂ were issued instead of makingÂ full payments on both way causing a net loss to HRTC at rupees 90,000/-. No body in HRTC was ready to tellÂ whyÂ per passenger tickets were issued and charges as special buses rates were notÂ taken from the party.
The audit team had submitted itsÂ Â report to Managing Director of HRTC at Shimla and Divisional Manager HRTC Dharmshala.Â Officials of the HRTC at Dharmshala were tight lipped and no one was ready to disclose any fact to the media. However, a senior officer of HRTC at Shimla admitted thatÂ irregularities had been pointed out by the audit team andÂ net loss of two lakh was caused to HRTC because of irregularities.
The HRTC in Kangra is already in controversy as its officers in the district hadÂ been facing legal action on accountÂ various scams detected in HRTC depotsÂ last year. A regional manager and divisionalÂ manager had already been placed under suspension by the government.