How HDK eased JD(S) MLA's brother into key post

How HDK eased JD(S) MLA's brother into key post

ASHVIN KUMAR M

Just a day before he failed to prove majority in the Legislative Assembly on July 23, H D Kumaraswamy approved an appointment that had controversy written all over it. 

Flouting all rules, he okayed the appointment of a JD(S) MLA's brother as the chief engineer in the Project Central Department of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on July 22. 

On the face of it, there's nothing wrong in M V Prasad's credentials, if we overlook the fact that he is the younger brother of T Narasipura MLA, Ashvin Kumar M. He is a qualified civil engineer and belongs to the prestigious Indian Railway Engineering Service (IRES). Having spent 17 years in the IRES, he knows a great deal about road engineering. 

There is, however, a small catch. While the timing of Prasad's appointment is suspicious, what makes things fishier is that a chief engineer from the Central government department cannot be appointed to the BBMP other than the Public Works, Ports and Inland Water Transport Department (PWD). So say the Cadre and Recruitment (C&R) Rules. 

What further muddies the waters is that Prasad is already serving in the BBMP, as the chief engineer of the Lakes Department. That appointment was also illegal, according to people in the know. 

A senior officer who earlier worked in the Urban Development Department (UDD) had this to say: "There is no provision to appoint a chief engineer from a Central government department. Prasad earlier tried to work in the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) as an engineer member but had to pull back following protests from BDA officials. We later wrote to the government, saying there is no provision to appoint him in any state government posting as he is from the IRES. But everyone had to retreat after a powerful minister became relentless and managed to post Prasad to the BBMP. His current position in the BBMP is not legal either." 

An official from the BBMP, also speaking anonymously, echoed the officer's views. "The government cannot just send any official as the chief engineer. The candidate must be holding an equivalent position in the PWD," he said. "The main reason this person managed to get this position is that he is the MLA's brother. He's become the chief engineer of the Lakes Department about which he knows nothing." 

The Project Central Department is one of the lucrative departments of the BBMP. This is the same department that undertakes all the major roadworks in the city. Among its ongoing projects are white-topping and TenderSURE roadworks. 

When contacted by DH, Prasad admitted that he is the MLA's brother but asserted that he was "fully qualified" to be a chief engineer in the BBMP. "I have worked in the IRES for 17 years and come from the civil engineering background. I have good knowledge of road engineering," he added. 

Dismissing the suggestion that his brother got him the post, Prasad said the final order came from the government. As per the appointment order, he is to join the new posting on September 1. 

For his part, the MLA maintained that his brother was "rightfully" holding the position in the BBMP. "Although I am not aware of the Cadre and Recruitment Rules, I think there are examples of officials from central government departments holding positions in state government departments. But I would like to clarify that in no manner did I help him get the chief engineer's position in any BBMP department," he told this newspaper.