Engineer better, Somanna claims innocence

Engineer better, Somanna claims innocence

Somaraju, the BBMP assistant engineer, who was at the receiving end of Somanna’s ire, fell unconscious after he was allegedly abused and slapped by the Minister. He was later admitted to Manipal Hospital’s ICU.

The minister, who on Saturday obliquely defended his action against errant BBMP officials, said here at a public function that he would take political retirement if it was proved that he was at fault.

Somanna said during his inspection tour on Saturday, residents had complained about the shoddy work on 13th Main, T Dasarahalli.

‘Vested interests’

Somanna did not let go off the opportunity to claim that certain vested interests in the Congress were trying to tarnish his image in the wake of the forthcoming by-elections to Govindarajanagar and the BBMP polls. Somaraju remains admitted in the ICU of the neurology department of Manipal Hospital.

“He did not respond for a greater part of Sunday, but straightened himself, opened his eyelids and asked for water. He, however, did not speak much. He went back to sleep after sipping some water,” Somaraju’s co-brother Murthy told Deccan Herald. He said there was swelling on Somaraju’s left cheek, which clearly indicated he was slapped. Engineer’s family in dilemma over approaching the police.

Somaraju’s family members are in a dilemma over lodging a police complaint against Somanna. Somaraju’s wife Triveni and Murthy said BBMP officials who were witness to the incident were being reluctant to narrate what they saw on Saturday morning. “We are undecided on what to do next. To lodge a complaint we need eye-witnesses but no one is coming forward to support us,” said Triveni and Murthy while talking to Deccan Herald. They said the ultimate decision would be taken in consultation with Somaraju and after he regains full consciousness.

On the other hand, Triveni’s cousin Venkatesh said they would approach the police on Monday. “We have drafted the copy of our complaint, which we will submit on Monday to the police as well as Governor H R Bhardwaj,” Venkatesh said.

The BBMP Employees’ Union flatly denied that Somanna abused or manhandled Somaraju. “Somaraju is a diabetic and hyper-tension patient. On Saturday he did not take medicines and went hungry to attend to the minister’s field inspection. There Somanna merely asked him why the work was not being carried out properly. Later, Somanna along with BBMP officials, including Somaraju, went to a refreshment centre where they all took breakfast. Because the engineer was hungry and did not take medicines in time, he fainted at the BBMP ward office,” Union president Nagaraj said.
Meanwhile, State Congress working president D K Shivakumar met Somaraju at the hospital on Sunday. He said Somaraju’s left cheek was swollen.

Later speaking to reporters, Shivakumar attacked Somanna, saying the minister had no right to assault or abuse public servants and should immediately resign. He said the police should have taken up the matter suo motu and registered a case against Somanna.

Shivakumar said it was high time Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa intervened. He also urged government servants not to remain silent about the “high-handedness” of the minister.

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