Rs.80 cr. embezzled in Bangalore councils

BANGALORE JULY 3. The Lokayukta Police raided the Bangalore offices of the Krishnarajapuram and Mahadevapura city municipal councils on Tuesday and Wednesday and detected embezzlement of funds to the tune of Rs.80 crores.

The Lokayukta, N.Venkatachala, who visited the two municipal councils, has recommended that 15 officials, including the Krishnarajapuram Municipal Commissioner, N.Ramaswamy, and his Mahadevapura counterpart, N.Babanna, be suspended.

Sources in the Lokayukta told The Hindu that Rs.90 crores was released to the Krishnarajapuram City Municipal Council in the last three years of which Rs.50 crores had been embezzled.

Large-scale misappropriation of funds was detected in the purchase of tree guards, pesticides for trees, timers for traffic lights, road signboards, and ACC sheets.

Misappropriation of funds worth crores was unearthed in the construction of a five-km drain in Krishnarajapuram and another five-km drain in D.C.Palya and a bridge in Shanthi Layout.

Financial irregularities to the tune of Rs.3.28 crores had taken place in the construction of community halls and other buildings under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Welfare Scheme, the sources said.

Funds earmarked for water supply schemes, parthenium eradication programme, and pumpset and road repairs were embezzled.

The municipal council had claimed that it had distributed vegetable vending carts to 1,200 people, while only 35 persons had got the carts, the sources claimed.

According to the sources, the report submitted by the Indian Audit and Accounts Department on May 11, 2001 observed that the Krishnarajapuram City Municipal Council had unauthorisedly spent Rs.14.72 crores and the authorities concerned had failed to explain how and why they incurred the expenditure.

Mr. Ramaswamy, who earlier served as the Commissioner of the Holenarasipur City Municipal Council, was suspended on a charge of swindling Rs.1 crore in 1999.

Mr. Venkatachala has recommended that seven officials, including Narayanaswamy, Ismail Khan, S.Devaraj, M.K.Venkatesh and Ashok, be suspended.

In the Mahadevapura City Municipal Council, more than Rs.30 crores of the released amount of Rs.70 crores was swindled in the last three years, the sources said.

Funds allocated for streetlights, water supply schemes, digging of borewells, and purchase of various goods had been misappropriated.

A building owned by Chetana Builders, the value of which was estimated at Rs.3.20 crores, had been undervalued at Rs.50 lakhs by the officials, resulting in loss of revenue to the municipal council, the sources said.

While it was shown that Rs.95 lakhs was spent for constructing a techno park, only Rs.20 lakhs had been spent on it.

Misappropriation relating to purchase of a large number of sodium vapour lights was detected during the raids.

The Lokayukta has recommended that six officials, including Ravindra Babu, Chikkaiah, Manmohan and Anil, be suspended.

The raiding team was lead by the Superintendent of Police, G.Ramesh, and officers, Narayanappa, Vijay Kumar, Girish and Syed Riyaz.

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