Govt opts for transfers to action against officers

It's not just the Bellary Reddy ministers who are difficult to bend; it is also difficult to pin down officials who have worked in the district under the ‘blessings’ of the ministers - the fact that they have been indicted in the Lokayukta and the Central Empowered Committee reports on illegal mining notwithstanding.

Among them are officials refusing to leave Bellary or those perennially absenting themselves from work. Seven forest officials - S Muthaiah, Manoj Kumar Shukla, P Rajashekaran, T V Srinivasan, Mahesh Patil, H C Rangaraju and Thippeswamy - have still not faced any action, even as the government continues to mull over forming an enquiry committee or allowing a departmental enquiry against them. Anticipating criticism, the forest department transferred four officials just before the release of the CEC report mid-April. Manoj Kumar Shukla, Conservator of Forests, Bellary was transferred on March 16, and has not been given any alternative posting. Ashok Basarkod, Conservator of Forests, research, Dharwad, has assumed charge of Shukla’s post.

IFS officer S Muthaiah, who had been serving as CEO Zilla Panchayat, Bellary, was transferred as Dharwad Conservator of Forests on April 12. But he refused to relieve himself from his Bellary posting, until Tuesday evening. Chief Secretary S V Ranganath himself had to call the officer and issue a stern warning asking him to demit office immediately.

Sandur Range Forest Officer (RFO) Mahesh Patil was transferred, with no alternative posting on February 22. ACF of Bellary, T V Srinivasan, who was relieved from Hospet, was transferred to the Jalasamvardhana Yojana Sangha in Kolar on February 24. But Srinivasan is awaiting posting.

Divisional Forest Officer, Bellary, P Rajashekaran, who was suspended by the department on February 12, 2008 after a Lokayukta raid, however came back to the department after the KAT quashed the suspension order. On August 30, 2010, he reported back to work as Deputy Conservator of Forests, Working Plan in Chikmaglur.

ACF Bellary, H C Rangaraju, sought voluntary retirement in 2006-07 and has been relieved from the department. Meanwhile, Bellary RFO Thippeswamy has not yet been suspended by the department, despite him absenting from work for over three years now. 

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