CM steps in to ease tension between minister and BMTC

CM steps in to ease tension between minister and BMTC

H D Kumaraswamy.

Transport Minister D C Thammanna’s bribery allegation against the officials of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has caused tension among the department’s senior officials, who have offered to step down and have sought a probe.

This comes two days after the transport minister said that the BMTC officials
“were putting pressure on him to clear the electric bus project as they might have taken a bribe (from the bus operators)”.

Sources close to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said senior BMTC officials found the minister’s statement offending and had approached the Chief Minister’s office seeking a transfer and a high-level investigation into the matter.

“BMTC officials said they have not raised the electric bus topic after submitting the files about two months ago. It has been left to the minister to either clear or cancel the project. Since the minister gave oral instructions, they had only sought written directions,” the source said.

CM intervenes

The source said that following negative reactions from former Transport minister H M Revanna as well as BMTC staffers to the minister’s allegation, Kumaraswamy called the BMTC Managing Director V Ponnuraj on Thursday.

“As the situation seemed to escalate beyond control, CM assured the senior officer that there was no necessity to take the minister’s remark seriously,” the source said.

While Ponnuraj refused to comment on the matter, sources said the minister’s remark had irked not only the MD but also several senior officials in the government.

Asked about the development, Thammanna said he has not made the allegation at all.

“It is purely a media creation. I have not made those remarks,” he said. The minister, however, said there was pressure from BMTC officials to clear the file.

“They did not send original documents (of the tender) and I had asked for them,” he said.

On why he has not taken a call on the project yet, Thammanna denied sitting on the file for a month.

“I have received the original files very recently. I have to look into them before taking a decision,” he said.