Voicing "shock" over the fact that money meant for the welfare of construction workers is going "somewhere else", the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to file an audit report as to how crores of rupees for the purpose was spent.
It observed that there is no record as to how Rs 5,000 crore was spent, and directed the CAG to file the report within two weeks.
"Out of the Rs 26,000 crore, Rs 5,000 crore have been spent. We do not know where the money has been spent. You have to ensure that it is not spent for tea or lunch," a bench comprising Justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh.
Singh told the bench that the money was lying with the state governments, and "it is not that the money has disappeared".
The court, however, observed that what has been conveyed to it was shocking and the Centre must find a way to deal with the situation.
The bench then fixed the matter for further hearing on 5 May.
The CAG had earlier told the court that it would file an affidavit, giving the latest status with regard to the audit of the funds meant for welfare of construction workers across the country.
The court had in 2015 expressed displeasure over non-utilisation of a whopping Rs 26,000 crore by the Centre and various state governments, saying it cannot get worse than that.
(With inputs from PTI.)