State yet to act against officers named in mining report

State yet to act against officers named in mining report

Lokayukta has already taken action against four officers

 The Lokayukta police has already initiated action against four of its officials indicted in the report, but the heads of the government departments haven’t even initiated departmental inquiries against the tainted officials.

When contacted by this paper on Monday, Principal Secretary, Forests, Kaushik Mukherjee said his department was yet to receive a copy of the report. “Without going through the report, the department cannot initiate any action. We haven’t received a copy of the report yet,” he said.

Principal Secretary, Commerce and Industries, B S Ramprasad said the departments can initiate action only after the committee constituted by the government submits its report. “The committee will have to indicate the action to be initiated. Until then little can be done,” he said.

However, senior officials believe otherwise. Officials said that there was no need for the departments to wait for any indication, and as the heads of the departments are competent authorities, they can directly set the process in motion. The officials indicted can at least be suspended, the officials said.

The State government, which has constituted a four-member committee to suggest and recommend action to be initiated against officials indicted in the report, is yet to hold its first meeting. The panel was formed on August 18.

 The Committee is also expected to scrutinise the recommendations made by the Lokayukta in his report and give its opinion on the matter and submit its report to the government in two months. The Committee is headed by Additional Chief Secretary K Jairaj. Additional chief secretaries Meera Saxena, Subheer Hari Singh and Shamim Banu have been appointed as members.

Principal Secretary of Commerce and Industries Department will act as the convenor.  
Lokayukta police acts Lokayukta police have asked four police officers accused of receiving bribe from those involved in illegal mining to go back to their parent departments.

While orders have been issued directing Bellary Lokayukta SP Ashok Sadalagi and Gulbarga Lokayukta SP Mahantesh to go back to their parent departments, Ramnagar Lokayukta SP A N Ramaswamy and Bangalore Rural Lokayukta DySP A M Venkat Naik have been handed ‘gate passes.’

Sadalagi and Mahantesh have been accused of receiving bribe from Kharadapudi Mahesh, the alleged kingpin of illegal mining mafia in Bellary. The Income Tax Department had produced records to this effect.

Later, these records were incorporated into the Lokayukta report on illegal mining prepared by Dr U V Singh and submitted to the State government. Karwar’s former Lokayukta SP, too, was named in the report but since he retired some time ago, no action was taken against him.

The decision to initiate action against Sadalagi and Mahantesh was taken on Friday. The police force has been requested to recall the two officers.

The Lokayukta report on illegal mining had indicted Sadalagi and Mahantesh under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Highly placed sources say that senior Lokayukta officers are considering disciplinary action against Sadalagi and Mahantesh.
The action against Ramaswamy was taken after a few officials of Ramnagar district Lokayukta police represented in this regard. A decision on sending Ramaswamy back to his parent department would be arrived at after investigation, it is learnt.

Naik had come under scrutiny when a few officials of the Sub Registrar’s office in Bangalore Rural district met senior Lokayukta officials following the recent raid on that office. The raid on the Sub Registrar’s office was conducted by officers of Bangalore City Lokayukta police. It is learnt that the charges against Venkat Naik were found to be prima facie true.

The Lokayukta has also agreed to relieve DySPs H R Rajamani and S Suresh. Reliable sources said that the two officers would be sent back to their parent department soon.

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