Probe into scams hangs in balance

Going into the past is not good, says the new commissioner

Siddaiah, who had sought for a Lokayukta investigation into the fake bill scam, was shunted out from the Palike on Monday. The government, meanwhile, handed over the probe into the fire incident at the  Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) police station to the Central Investigation Department (CID).

The BMTF, which is inquiring into the multi-crore fake bills scam, was constituted with the objective to protect the capital and assets of the civic bodies such as the Palike, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board and Bangalore Development Authority.

Dr Rajvir Pratap Sharma, the IGP of the Task Force had said that no other investigation agency was equipped to probe the matter. The BMTF has civil engineers, accounts officers and police officers in its inquiry team.

The order came on the day the BBMP engineers led by engineer-in-chief B T Ramesh, suspended engineer K T Nagaraj, and others staged a dharna near the Palike’s annexe building against the BMTF probe. Several corporators including Deputy Mayor Harish and a few legislators were also opposed to the probe. It was their grouse that Siddaiah had neither sought permission of the Palike Council nor waited for Mayor Sharada­mma to return from abroad before lodging a complaint with BMTF.

‘Stint eventful’

“I must say that mine was an eventful stay in the BBMP. It’s an achievement to serve your own City. Not all fortunate people get this opportunity,” Siddaiah said after handing over charge to Shankaralainge Gowda. Siddaiah is credited with exposing the Rs 2,300-crore job code and putting on hold all the bogus works. He had also unearthed fake road construction work in Jalahalli and suspended three engineers. He had recommended the government to initiate action against 11 officers including nine engineers of the Public Works Department.

‘Transparency, the key’

The new commissioner M K Shankarlinge Gowda said zero tolerance towards corruption was a very tall-talk and instead he would focus on transparency.

Speaking to reporters after assuming office, Gowda said he does not wield any magic wand to bring a change overnight. “Don’t expect Ramarajya from tomorrow. The priority is to improve the system,”he added. He said he had introduced state-of-the-art technology in the regional transport offices to eliminate corruption in issuance of driving licences.

When asked how he would deal with corruption cases that had taken place in the Palike in the past, he said: “I do not have a habit of looking into the past. Going into the past is not good.”

Gowda said he would find favourable solutions to conflict of interest and protect the image of the Palike. The challenge is to bring the situation to normal and raise resources to match the demand. The resources are limited and the demands are mind-boggling, he noted.

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