Shimla: Himachal Pradesh government has come under attack by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for massive financial irregularities involving stamp papers.

The CAG, while going through the 2009 files of the HP government, chanced upon graft in the registration of lands given on lease, for which the state government has been found to be responsible.

The CAG report highlighted that during 2008, in 26 matters pertaining to land given on lease for 40 years, the registration was done at a Premium Return amount of Rs 16 crore. This led to a huge loss to the state exchequer.

According to the CAG report, for the registration of a land on lease, three per cent of stamp duty is mandatory, but the state Revenue Department collected only one per cent of the total amount.

A provision for the collection of three per cent of stamp duty, as a premium amount, on documents relating to lease is incorporated under the Schedule 1 of Section 35 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899. The state government, however, overruled this provision.

The Himachal Pradesh Stamp Act, 1970 also clearly states that lease of a land should not be granted for more than 100 years with a charge of three per cent stamp duty on it. But the Revenue Department was unaware of this act.

The total amount collected by the department from the stamp duty amounts to Rs 16.72 lakh, whereas the CAG reports that an amount of Rs 50.16 lakh should have been collected. This shows that the state government has incurred a total loss of Rs 33.44 lakh.

State government mum    

CAG had asked the Revenue Department as well as the state government to submit their reply by September 2010, but the response is still awaited. The CAG had also informed the government about this matter.

JPN/Bureau