Eatery owner tips off police on protection money
Already staving off the loss of face on account of several scams, the most recent being the garbage fiasco, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) faced another humiliating day as a sitting councillor and a tax collector were caught red-handed in separate cases accepting bribes on Tuesday.
Awwai, councillor from Sudhamanagar, was arrested by the Lokayukta police in morning after they caught her red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs.15,000 from the owner of a small eatery.
The trap was laid by the Lokayukta following a complaint filed by one Channegowda who runs the little place at Kalasipalya without necessary clearances from the civic authority.
Taking advantage of this, Ms. Awwai, a Congress councillor, used to allegedly collect protection money of Rs.500 every month from vendors like Mr. Channegowda with the promise that nobody in the BBMP would trouble them.
When Mr. Channegowda failed to pay his monthly levy for November, Ms. Awwai allegedly demanded a lump sum of Rs.35,000 from him. The bribe was renegotiated to Rs.20,000 and it was agreed that it would be paid at Ms. Awwai’s house at Sudhamanagar.
But Mr. Channegowda had had enough of this harassment and approached the Lokayukta police who in turn trapped Ms. Awwai while she was accepting Rs.15,000 of the Rs.20,000 she had demanded.
The arrest of the Congress councillor sent the media into a tizzy as they camped outside her residence for nearly five hours while she was being interrogated by the Lokayukta police.
In the other case, tax collector (Bytrayanapura Division) Chandrashekharaiah was caught by the Lokayukta while accepting a bribe of Rs.10,000 at his office. The complainant, Muniraju, had told the Lokayukta police that the BBMP official was demanding the bribe to reduce his tax liability on a piece of land.