Complaints galore over bribe demand for GP funds

Complaints galore over bribe demand for GP funds

“To get grants for gram panchayats, there is a need to bribe senior officials of the Finance Department. From where will I get money for it?”

This was the question placed before Mangaluru City North MLA Dr Y Bharath Shetty by Mangaluru Taluk Panchayat EO Sadananda.

The legislator received complaints that the budgets of several gram panchayats in Mangaluru taluk were not approved for the last six months and that the Taluk Panchayat executive officer had been allegedly demanding money to approve files related to the budget.

Shetty visited the Taluk Panchayat office on Saturday to learn the reason for the keeping the files related to the budget on hold.

He said that the executive officer had accepted the fact that the files were pending. “When asked about the money issue, however, he did not reply. One of the panchayat development officers (PDO), who was present, confirmed the charges that the executive officer had been demanding money,” he added.

The legislator said that, in reaction, Sadananda told him, “You are new in the field. There is a need to pay the Finance Department officers for release of the grant to the gram panchayats. From where will I pay? Hence, I asked the PDOs.”

The conversation in the Panchayat office has been videographed. A complaint will be submitted along with the footage. Officials of the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj will be asked to find out whom the bribe was paid to, said the MLA.

When contacted, Sadananda, he said, “I have not said anywhere that one need to bribe for the release of grants to gram panchayats. It is true that I have stated that higher officials need to be paid to clear the tour bills of the panchayat officials.”