Lokayukta acted on information under RTI

The Lokayukta Police on Monday booked a case against ten persons, including the present and former deputy directors of Mysore Palace Board and a noted Ganjifa artist, acting on a complaint that gold leaf painting work at the palace was “substandard”.

S.M. Jagadeesh Prasad, Superintendent of Police, Lokayukta, Mysore, confirmed with The Hindu that an FIR had been lodged against former Deputy Director P.V. Awaradi; incumbent Deputy Director T.S. Subramanya; Shahjad Khan of Pink City International from Mumbai; Ganjifa artiste Raghupathy Bhat and six engineers – C.N. Lakshmeesha, Srinivas, C.S. Rajashekara Gowda, M.K. Somashekar, B.R. Muralidhara Rao and Parashivamurthy. 

Mr. Prasad said Javaraju from Nanjangud had filed a complaint with the Additional Director General of Police, Lokayukta, last year claiming that the gold leafing work done inside the palace was of inferior quality. “The total work was taken up at an estimated cost of Rs. 4.1 crore between 2007-08 and 2013-14, which will be investigated,” he added.

The office of Superintendent of Police, Lokayukta, Mysore, began to investigate based on the complaint and verified PalaceBoard records. They found that Mr. Khan executed about 20 percent of the painting work while a major portion was done by Mr. Bhat. 

The Lokayukta consulted the Regional Conservation Laboratory (RCL), Mysore, for its opinion on the quality of work.

 “Laboratory director B.V. Kharbade, after inspecting the work, opined that it was not up to the mark. He said it was impossible from a conservation point of view to execute a major portion of the gold leaf painting in two months. As the laboratory felt the work lacked technical stipulations, we have registered a case and will investigate further,” Mr. Prasad said. 

He said the six engineers who were on deputation to the Palace Board were not “experts” to certify the work, and that an Two of them have since retired.opinion should have been sought from a conservation engineer. Two of them have since retired.

Moreover, the Palace Board could have used the expertise of RCL, which completed several conservation projects inside the palace, for the gold leafing work, but this was overlooked.

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