Charge sheets were filed against them in the bogus bill scam

Engineers of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) suffered a setback as the Karnataka High Court on Thursday refused to quash the First Information Reports (FIRs) and the charge sheets filed against some of them in connection with the multi-crore bogus bill scam, which is being probed by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The court dismissed a batch of petitions filed by Ideya Vendan R, BBMP’s executive engineer and other engineers, Nagesh and other private contractors, challenging the FIRs and the charge sheets filed against them in respect of the bogus bill scam reported in Gandhinagar, Malleswaram and Rajarajeshwarinagar sub-divisions.

In his verdict, Justice K.N. Keshavanarayana declared that the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) had the jurisdiction to register FIRs against the engineers and private contractors based on the complaint filed by the BBMP while turning down the contention of a large number of accused-engineers that BMTF had no power to book cases against them under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Referring to various notifications issued by the State government on the constitution of the BMTF in early 90s, the court said that being declared a “police station”, the BMTF had the jurisdiction to register and investigate the cases related to offences of creating fake and false documents, involving employees, officials, and public with whom the staff colluded with thus resulting in loss of revenue of the organisations [BBMP and other notified government agencies coming under the jurisdiction of the BMTF].

And this power, Justice Keshavanarayana ruled “is very much in consonance with object and purpose of the BMTF that is to protect the public properties, which includes the funds of [these] organisations.”

The court ruled that the State government acted well within its authority in transferring these cases to the CID. With regard to the challenge to multiple charge sheets filed by the CID, the court said that considering the large-scale irregularities with the investigation in many cases still underway, filling of multiple charge sheets cannot be termed illegal.

On their claim that the magistrate court had taken cognisance against them under IPC without prior sanction for their prosecution, Justice Keshavanarayana said that this issue would be dealt with by the magistrate court at an appropriate stage of trial as the question whether the alleged actions of these engineers were done as part of their official duty, will have to considered by the trial court.

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