When the then Chairman of Central Relief Committee C N Manjegowda came up with a ill-conceived plan to observe the Beggary Eradication Month in February-March 2010, he had Rs 19.31 lakh sanctioned, but not a single paisa of this was actually earmarked to set up facilities for the beggars who would be coming in.
Instead, a whopping Rs 13.18 lakh of this money was spent on publicity for the programme via news papers, TV, printing of banners and handbills. The other expenses were for hiring vehicles, mike sets, generators, decorations and 20 people for rounding up beggars.
The Chairman then set a target of 2,500 beggars to be arrested and put in the Colony, which could accommodate only 750 people.
The 20 people who were hired were not only unauthorised to make arrests, but after a while they stopped even producing the ‘beggars’ before the Magistrate and started hauling them to the Colony directly. A total of 617 people were found to have been abducted in this manner.
The inquiry report on the deaths of inmates at the Rehabilitation Centre on Magadi Road, submitted by National Rural Health Mission Director S Selvakumar slams the Chairman, Superintendent and the Head Warden for virtually breaking all rules and looting money in the process.
The trio was remarkable for flouting rules. The Chairman came up with numerous orders and interfered in the day to day running of the centre to suit their convenience and the Superintendent and Head Warden implemented it. In one such case, the Chairman modified a rule allowing the grocery supplier, Nandi Trading Corporation to supply stocks daily to the kitchen instead of the stores to avoid official scrutiny. The stocks supplied were based on inflated number of inmates. Worse, cheques were received by Nandi Trading Corporation for services that had nothing to do with groceries. The Central Relief Committee (CRC) issued several cheques worth a total of Rs 11.48 lakh between April and June 2010, for opening a bank account, supplying clothes and conducting solar heater repairs.
The Superintendent and the Head Warden ran the place without being accountable for any of their actions. The report states “…they have indulged in tampering of records and inflating attendance. Consequently inflated indents are prepared for the ration and materials.
As there are no proper records to show the actual number of inmates present at the Nirashritara Parihara Kendra (NPK), all the subsidiary records like the indents prepared for ration, indents prepared for cloth, food, etc., are all imaginary inflated figures.”
The trio operated brazenly without bothering to hide the trail of looting. Donation registers were simply not updated and there is marked difference in the cash register where entries are made about the amount recovered from beggars from the bank statement of remittances for the day.
In one instance, the cash register showed a collection of Rs five lakh from the arrested beggars while the bank statement showed a remittance of only Rs 3.07 lakh. In some cases, there is a delay of several months in making payments to the bank, indicating temporary misappropriation by the Superintendent and the staff.