Araga Jnanendra, ex-chairperson of Mysore Paper Mills Ltd. (MPM), a State-owned enterprise, has said that the complaint lodged against him with the Lokayukta court is politically motivated.
Shivamurthy, an employee of MPM, lodged a private complaint with the Lokayukta court here on May 3 against Mr. Jnanendra, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri and nine others, alleging that they had caused huge financial losses to the company by indulging in irregular practices.
The court directed the Lokayukta police to conduct an investigation into the charges and submit a report by June 6.
Mr. Jnanendra, who contested the Assembly elections from Tirthahalli constituency as the BJP candidate, told journalists here on Tuesday that “false” charges were levelled against him to tarnish his image during the elections.
The complainant acted at the behest of Kimmane Rathnakar, who contested the elections as the Congress candidate from Tirthahalli, and R.M. Manjunatha Gowda, Karnataka Janata Paksha candidate, he alleged.
He said slump in the price of newsprint in the international market owing to economic slowdown and increase in the price of raw materials used for production of paper were the main reasons for the losses that the company suffered in the past five years. Antiquated machines need to be replaced and the workforce trimmed to take the company on the path of profit, he added.
Welcoming the court order, he said the investigation would bring the out the actual reasons for the company’s present financial condition.
Mr. Jnanendra, former Tirthahalli MLA, was appointed chairperson of MPM by the BJP government in 2009. He tendered his resignation from the post after the declaration of Assembly elections.
Mr. Jnanendra said that during his tenure as the company’s chairperson he earned the wrath of a section of workers when he tried to introduce biometric attendance system.
The complainant said that the Governor had directed the Department of Public Instruction to purchase notebooks from MPM for distribution among students. He alleged that Mr. Kageri violated the Governor’s order by purchasing notebooks from a private company, thereby causing loss to the company.
On this, Mr. Jnanendra said that Mr. Kageri’s name was unnecessarily dragged in the issue. He said MPM notebooks were expensive compared to those of other companies because of the fine quality of paper used to manufacture them. A private company that quoted competitive price for the books bagged the tender floated by the department, he said, and added that the allegation against Mr. Kageri were also false.
BJP functionaries D.S. Arun and B.R. Madhusudan were present.