Lokayukta to file petition on action against official

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Lokayukta, N. Venkatachala, will on Wednesday file a statement of objections to the petition filed before the Karnataka High Court by the Commissioner of Social Welfare Department, K. Shivaram, questioning the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against him.

The Lokayukta, in his report to the State Government in May last week, found Mr. Shivaram prima facie guilty of gross official misconduct and causing a loss of Rs. 983.49 lakhs of Government funds meant for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Theses funds were meant for improving their living conditions and facilitating them in getting good education. Mr. Justice Venkatachala said that the competent authority conducting the inquiry should examine his report and decide on keeping Mr. Shivaram under suspension.

Mr. Shivaram should also be prevented from holding any public office/post of trust pending the decision of the inquiry. His recommendation is without prejudice to his power to prosecute him under the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988 and other penal laws, he said.

On a petition by Mr. Shivaram, a Division Bench comprising Justice S.R. Nayak and Justice V. Jagannathan on July 1 granted an interim stay.

In his petition, Mr. Shivaram said that the Lokayukta had initiated proceedings against him after a complaint by K.L. Negi, the then Secretary of the Department. He said the Lokayukta did not have the jurisdiction to either act or recommend action against him.

Mr. Venkatachala told The Hindu on Tuesday that the report against Mr. Shivaram was only recommendatory in nature. He said it is within his power to submit report on Mr. Shivaram's official work as he is one among the Class `A' officers.

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