Scam probe brings Palike fight to the fore

Finance panel chief slams Siddaiah for BMTF inquiry

Scam probe brings Palike fight to the fore

Boiling point: BBMP Congress workers stage a protest in front of the BBMP office on Wednesday demanding CBI  investigation into the multi-crore fake bills scam. KPN

In a correspondence between the Taxation and Finance (T&F) Standing Committee chairperson, Manjunath Raju, and Palike Commissioner Siddaiah, allegations have been flying back and forth over the logic behind handing over the investigation of the estimated Rs 300-400 crore misappropriation in the three divisions of Malleswaram, Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Gandhinagar to the BMTF.

In his letter, the Malle- swaram corporator has questioned Siddaiah’s decision, despite the fact that the T&F committee was looking into the matter.

He has further asked Siddaiah on what grounds the commissioner sought for the reports from the Technical and Vigilance Cell under the Commissioner (TVCC). Raju, in his letter, has alleged that the commissioner has taken an unilateral decision in handing over the investigation to BMTF and has violated Section 64 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act of 1976.

Countering these charges, Siddaiah has responded saying the commissioner’s office was not aware of the inquiry being carried out by the T&F committee, and therefore asked for the reports from TVCC.

He also defended his “unilateral” decision, saying he had every right to interfere in administrative matters that were under his purview as per Section 64 of the KMC Act.

The infighting between Raju and Siddaiah has raised eyebrows in the Palike and the ruling party. “When the Palike commissioner is looking into the matter, how does it make sense for a T&F committee chairman to interfere? What has a T&F committee chairman got to do with work scams?” questioned a BJP corporator.

Speculations and allegations are now being raised within the BJP rank and file that Raju’s letter appears to be a move to scuttle any independent inquiry into the scam that touches even his ward.

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