OOA to counter AG report on irregularities

Cuttack: The Supreme Court granted two weeks time to Odisha Olympic Association (OOA) to file an objection on the audit report submitted by the Accountant General of Odisha (AG) examining the irregularities in financial matters and operation of shops and the mandap by OOA authorities.

Scheduling the next hearing on April 21, the apex court also asked the State government to furnish the original lease deed and photographs of 23 shops and kalyan mandap.

After the AG submitted its audit report in a sealed cover as per Supreme Court directive, Odisha Olympic Association (OOA) counsel raised questions over the report saying it cannot be accepted on face value. Seeking an opportunity to review the report, the OOA counsel said that after scrutiny, it will file an objection duly signed by competent authority. Pursuant to this development, the court allowed OOA two weeks time to submit the objection, informed Ashok Panigrahi, counsel for the Odisha government.

According to sources, the AG has found irregularities by OOA authorities in the management of Barabati Palace and business establishments on encroached land resulting in significant revenue loss to the State government.

The OOA has been on the dock over its right to operate shops and establishments on the land without the consent of the lessor, in this case the Odisha government. In order to determine if OOA could operate such shops and establishment on ‘mercurial’ grounds of development of the Stadium without the consent of Odisha government, the apex court asked the State to furnish the original lease deed and photographs.

Odisha Government to file the lease deed in original and observed that the Apex Court would find out whether a lessee, which is involved in public duty could be engaged in raising funds on a “mercurial” or “spacious” ground to sustain the stadium without the consent of the lessor.

In January, the apex court had ordered the AG to audit the accounts of Orissa Olympic Association (OOA) that built business establishments on encroached government land for decades.

In 1949, the OOA had got 20 acre of government land on lease for construction of Barabati stadium. But in the mid-70s, it encroached upon 2 acre of adjacent vacant government land.

The OOA in 1986 sub-leased the encroached land and developed various business establishments, including the marriage hall, on that land.