Alleged misuse of Corporation funds for carrying out construction work amounting to Rs.4.5 lakh on a private road in Pottammal.

The Special Vigilance Judge on Tuesday directed the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) to register a case against Mayor A.K. Premajam, Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef, Public Works Standing Committee Chairman M. Mohanan, 29 ward convenor K. Vasudathan, and others for the alleged misuse of Corporation funds for carrying out construction work amounting to Rs.4.5 lakh on a private road in Pottammal.

Special Judge V. Jayaram gave the order based on a petition by Earnest William, executive member of Anti-Corruption Campaign Committee challenging a quick verification report submitted by VACB in March 2013, which said that ‘the allegations raised in the petitions are found irrelevant and not coming under the purview of Vigilance angle. No financial loss or misappropriation of fund or misuse of official power is noticed.’

The VACB has been directed to register FIR in the case by August 30 under section 13 (1) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. Both sections are punishable by up to seven years in jail. The petitioner’s allegation is that “Kinattinkara Thazham, a private pathway at Nellikode owned by three individuals. has been filled up and concreted over utilising funds of the Corporation and thereby caused financial loss to the government exchequer.”

A meeting of Pottammal ward committee, which decided on the road work, is also under a cloud with the petitioner alleging that the number of members who attended the meeting was found different in the minutes and the reply received from the Corporation. It says that the majority of the members who attended the meeting belonged to the CPI(M) and the absence of other party members caused suspicion.

The respondents are accused of using fake documents and of having committed crime as per the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The petitioner pointed out that the documents obtained as per the RTI Act had revealed that the respondents did not properly follow the procedures required for acquiring private land and declaring it as public property. “The relinquishment form filed by the beneficiaries of road was a forged one, in which the date, place, name of witnesses, signature of village officer etc. were not collected. The certificates of Corporation Health Officer or District Medical Officer, verification of the site by the Corporation Engineer, encumbrance certificate of the land, etc. is not available in the file,” he said. K.P. Vijayakumar, convenor of the Anti-Corruption Campaign Committee, said those involved in the case should resign in view of the directive.

Mayor’s stance

When contacted by The Hindu, Mayor A.K. Premajam said she was not scared of the investigations as each action of hers was done with extreme caution and as per the rules.

“The funds for the road were allotted following all the rules in the book. If you look at the list of beneficiaries of any road, it will be private parties. The parties in question had already relinquished the rights for the road so as to facilitate its expansion. We started work only after this,” she said.

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