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Tainted, minister Gowda quits

Last updated: 12 September, 2010
Bangalore, Sep 12, DHNS 1:29 IST

Struck by solid proof of irregularities in the recruitment of non-teaching staff to two state-run medical colleges, State Medical Education Minister Ramchandra Gowda on Sunday quit office on directions from Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.

The Chief Minister asked Gowda to put in his papers before he left for China to participate in the World Economic Forum. Gowda was on his way to Tirupati when he got the Chief Minister’s message. He immediately rushed to Bangalore and sent a three-line resignation letter to the Chief Minister’s official residence at 12:25 am, which was received by one of Yeddyurappa’s daughters.

Yeddyurappa’s direction came despite Gowda’s personal explanation to the Chief Minister that all was well with the recruitment of 315 non-medical staff to the Mysore and Hassan Medical Colleges.

Even after his resignation, Gowda continued to argue that there were no irregularities in the recruitments. Gowda was under intense pressure to quit from various quarters for the last couple of weeks. Yeddyurappa had waited for Gowda to quit on his own, but when that did not happen, he was compelled to direct his one-time confidant to resign.
It is learnt that the Chief Minister had told Gowda that if he fails to tender his resignation then he may have to recommend to the governor to remove him from the State
Cabinet.

If Gowda had not quit, the government would have faced caustic remarks from the Karnataka High Court which had asked the Medical Education Department to submit on Monday a list segregating eligible and non-eligible candidates to the posts for which recruitment was made.

It is learnt that the list drawn up by the department did not find even one person recruited, qualified for the post. Yedyurappa had declined to comment on the situation on Saturday, saying he would return from China on September 15 and then react to the developments.

The alleged irregularities in the recruitment of C and D group employees surfaced after a section of the media reported it. Not only Gowda’s, the names of six of his staff, including his personal assistant Virupaksha, were linked to the scam.

The irregularities have been proved at two levels—a preliminary probe by the Medical Education Principal Secretary I M Vittal Murthy and an in-depth probe by Additional Chief Secretary Abhijit Das Gupta. Following the probe by Murthy, Yedyurappa cancelled all appointments made by the colleges’ governing body on August 26. An angry Gowda then questioned the CM’s action.

Making matters worse for Gowda, Das Gupta’s report not only confirmed Murthy’s findings but unearthed more malpractices. The report was submitted to the Karnataka High Court on Friday. Gowda, probably could have saved his seat, had he accepted the officials’ suggestion to redo the merit-cum-reservation list.

Following reports of the scam, Yedyurappa distanced himself from Gowda, with whom the Chief Minister used to go for diabetes treatment to Chennai. Seventy two-year-old Gowda, a three-time MLC, was so close to Yeddyurappa that he would often visit temples in Tamil Nadu with the CM and former minister Shobha Karandlaje. Gowda even had a government bungalow next to the CM’s in the ministers’ quarters near Race Course in Bangalore though he never occupied it.

Now, neither Gowda nor Karandlaje is in the Cabinet though Karandlaje is likely to make a comeback when the Yedyurappa makes a reshuffle of the ministry after September 20.

The fall

* Irregularities alleged inrecruitment of 315 non-teaching staff
* Chief minister orders cancellation of appointment
* Inquiry report by ACSAbhijit Das Gupta citesirregularities in recruitment
* Karnataka High Courtraises objections to recruitment procedure
*Gowda is the third minister to make ignominious exit from Yeddyurappa Cabinet

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