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‘I neither held Deve Gowda guilty nor absolved him'

Special Correspondent
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Vaijnath Patil
Vaijnath Patil

The former Minister Vaijnath Patil, who headed the committee that looked into complaints of irregularities in the Upper Krishna Project between 1995 and 1998 when president of Janata Dal (S) H.D. Deve Gowda was the Chief Minister and held the Irrigation portfolio, has said that he had neither held Mr. Deve Gowda guilty nor had absolved him of all the charges of irregularities and financial misappropriation.

Mr. Patil, one-time associate of Mr. Deve Gowda who later became an adversary, reacting to the statement of Mr. Deve Gowda that Mr. Patil had in his report said that the charges levelled against him (Mr. Deve Gowda) were based on mere hearsay, told The Hindu over telephone from his home town, Chincholi, that “I did not have enough time to thoroughly investigate the issue of award of piecework contract and violations of the guidelines in the UKP”.

Mr. Patil said that the officials of the Government had also not cooperated fully in the investigation.

He said that further investigation of the charges would have helped unearthed the truth.

To a question, he said that there were many complaints of irregularities, including the allotment of more than one work, as stipulated in the conditions, to a few contractors and non-adherence to the norms that works which were worth Rs. 2.5 crore should be given on piecework basis and works worth more than Rs. 5 crore were allotted on piecework contract basis.

There were also complaints of violations in clearing bills of contractors who had violated the norms of line estimates, Mr. Patil said. Mr. Patil is now associated with the BJP.

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