Fresh complaint against Somanna in Lokayukta court

BANGALORE, 04/04/2009: Congress MLA V. Somanna (Govindarajnagar) handing over his resignation letter to Legislative Assembly Speaker Jagadish Shettar, at his residence in Bangalore on April 04, 2009. Somanna is set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on April 8.Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy   | Photo Credit: V_SREENIVASA MURTHY

Yet another person has approached the Special Lokayukta Court with a corruption complaint against Housing Minister V. Somanna. In a private complaint file before Lokayukta Judge N.K. Sudhindra Rao, Mr. Somanna has been accused of possessing assets that are more than twice his income.

Lingadalli Chetan Kumar, the complaint, submitted to the court asset declarations made by Mr. Somanna to the Lokayukta and to the Election Commission starting from 1974 till date.

Using these declarations in combination with details of assets owned by Mr. Somanna, Mr. Kumar told the court that his income (including loans) since 1974 totalled over Rs. 6.07 crore. Whereas, the assets (including expenditure) he amassed during the same period totalled over Rs. 17.88 crore or disproportionate to his income by 204.3 per cent.

Appearing on behalf of the complainant, lawyer Byatha N. Jagdeesha told the court that Mr. Somanna started his career in 1974 as an ordinary sales assistant at Janatha Bazar with a monthly salary of Rs. 187 .

Mr. Jagadeesha told the court that Mr. Somanna and his wife had never held a job or started any business to justify the exponential growth in their assets neither do they own any ancestral property. “Somanna’s wife was selling Bhajjis on the street,” Mr. Jagadeesha told the court.

Pointing out that Mr. Somanna’s wife had received gifts in cash to the tune of Rs. 16 lakh, Mr. Jagadeesha told the court that a public servant (or his spouse) is not supposed to accept gifts from the public.

He said, “Based on a perusal of Mr. Somanna’s declared assets, liability and income for the respective years, it is seen that he has procured assets during his tenure as a sales man and as a [Municipal] Councilor, an MLA and later as a Minister, which are beyond the scope of his declared sources of income.”

Invoking sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Mr. Jagadeesha told Judge N.K. Sudhindra Rao that Mr. Somanna has not only amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income “but also indulged in concealing the true amounts of his assets and undervalued them”. He also alleged that the market value of the assets owned by Mr. Somanna was nearly Rs. 100 crore. The case has been posted for December 27.

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