The State government appears to have allowed undue advantage to the cement manufacturers in Rajasthan, causing a loss of crores of rupees to the exchequer between 2002 and 2005.
The State assembly's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has initiated a probe into the irregularity, which could be the tip of a financial scandal. The probe has, simultaneously, heated up the state BJP's internal politics as the PAC head is the party's senior legislator Gulab Chand Kataria and the irregularity's most part was committed during the Vasundhara Raje regime.
Kataria and Raje are known to be bitter rivals within the BJP. The matter relates to loss of revenue to the state arising from cement manufacturers' failure in filling up a particular 'Form C' related to inter-state trades. On the basis of the Central government's directions, a notification was issued in 2002 making it mandatory for the cement manufacturers engaged in inter-state trade to fill 'Form C'. However, compliance of the notification was not ensured in Rajasthan until 2005.
The State government's negligence or ill intentions caused a loss of crores of rupees in revenue to the exchequer.
PAC head Gulab Chand Kataria on November 6 told the media that the PAC has given the government three months' time for an explanation. The PAC meeting held in the State Assembly on November 6 was attended by Principal Accountant General Suman Saxena and Chief Secretary CK Mathew along with senior government officials.
The PAC query addressed to state finance secretary has caused a flutter among the government officials who immediately got down to look for explanations into the irregularity.