‘Government will take it seriously as he is a senior officer’

After the allegations made by Director, Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, R. Gopal, here on Thursday that the Archaeology Department was in the grip of a mafia, P.S. Vastrad, Commissioner, Archaeo-logy, Museums and Heritage, has said that the State government would take his statements seriously as Mr. Gopal was a senior officer occupying a responsible position. Mr. Vastrad told The Hindu on Friday that he would send a report to the government and the Ministry of Kannada and Culture on what Mr. Gopal had stated at the function, and also the media reports, at the earliest. Asked if Mr. Gopal had discussed any internal problems of the department with him, Mr. Vastrad replied in the negative and said that he should have discussed it with him instead of airing his views at a public forum. “I will speak to him and ascertain what was bothering him,” Mr. Vastrad said.

However, people in the conservation circles, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that there were “problems” in the State Archaeology Department.

Mr. Gopal was under duress following a Lokayukta raid on his house which, they alleged, was an “act of vendetta by vested interest groups” within the department.

But N.S. Rangaraju of the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, said that Mr. Gopal’s allegations clearly underlined the fact that there was lack of coordination within the State Archaeology Department.

He pointed out that Rs. 100 crore grant was a big amount for conservation and as Mr. Gopal has gone on record alleging that the department was in the grip of a mafia, the government should constitute an inquiry committee headed by a High Court judge.

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