TVCC chief engineer N. Devaraj blames political interference for early exit
The chief engineer credited with having unearthed the multi-crore fake bill scam that exposed nexus between officials and contractors, has called it quits.
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) senior-most engineer, N. Devaraj, who was at the receiving end of the councillors’ ire on Thursday, has opted for the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS).
It is said that Mr. Devaraj, who heads the Technical Vigilance Cell under the Commissioner (TVCC), submitted his application seeking premature retirement to Commissioner Siddaiah on Friday through he still has a little over a year left of his service.
Confirming his plans, Mr. Devaraj told The Hindu he decided to apply for VRS as he was demoralised by the constant rebukes by councillors. “It is not for the first time that the TVCC and my team have been targeted by them in the BBMP council meeting. I have been pained by their hurtful statements at these meetings.”
Stating that it was becoming increasingly difficult to discharge his duties in the BBMP due to political interference, Mr. Devaraj said he had urged Mr. Siddaiah to relieve him of his duties as soon as possible.
Several councillors, cutting across party lines, had launched an attack on the TVCC and its engineers on Thursday after the Commissioner froze 1,970 projects worth Rs. 522 crore based on TVCC’s report.
While reviewing the projects sanctioned under special grants of the government, MLAs, Mayor, Deputy Mayor and the BBMP’s 12 standing committees, he had deemed them “unnecessary”.
This is not the first time Mr. Devaraj, regarded by many as an upright honest official, was being targeted at a council meeting.
The TVCC, under his leadership, has unearthed many scams, much to the chagrin of councillors and other politicians.
They initially gunned for the TVCC after the multi-crore fake bill scam was unearthed in December 2011.
The vigilance cell then detected the huge scam in three divisions of the BBMP — Malleswaram, Rajarajeswarinagar and Gandhinagar. The councillors had then demanded his resignation.
In May 2012, when the TVCC was investigating the scam in the allotment of Transfer of Development Rights in Bommanahalli zone for a road widening project, some six persons barged into Mr. Devaraj’s office and threatened him with dire consequences if he continued with the investigation. Thereafter, he sought installation of CCTV cameras in his chamber.
The TVCC is a wing of the BBMP that keeps a tab on projects, conducts inspections and looks into their technical aspects. Bills for various projects are cleared only after it submits its report.