Siddaiah shunted out of Palike

BJP corporators were irked by his decision to let BMTF inquire into works scam

Siddaiah shunted out of Palike

BBMP outgoing Commissioner Siddaiah (left) greets M K Shankarlinge Gowda who took charge as the new commissioner on Monday. dh Photo

Siddaiah, however, said the transfer was on his request.

Siddaiah’s exit comes days after he asked the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) to inquire into a multi-crore financial scam rivalling the Commonwealth Games (CWG) scam.

The move earned the officer the wrath of several BJP corporators, it is learnt. Siddaiah, who took over as BBMP Commissioner in June 2010, is yet to get a fresh posting.

Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, who is in Bellary, announced a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) probe into the fire incidcent at the BMTF office. Siddaiah had sought a Lokayukta probe into the fake bills scam  that is now being investigated by the BMTF.

Speaking to reporters, Siddaiah denied that his transfer was sudden. “I opted for a transfer 10 days ago and had written to the government in this regard. I felt I should pay attention to my health. The BBMP commissioner’s job is strenuous and I handled it for one-and-a-half years.”

Siddaiah’s successor Shankarlinge Gowda, who took charge in the evening, was cautious in his initial remarks. He said he wielded no “magic wand” to end corruption overnight. “Do not expect Ramarajya from tomorrow.”

Opposition to protest

The sudden development angered the Opposition Congress and JD(S), which termed the transfer as an example of the anti-Dalit stance of BJP.

JD(S) floor leader Padmanabha Reddy said the chief minister needed to explain the transfer when the fake bills scam investigation was at a crucial stage.

“Today (Monday) we had a pre-council meeting to decide our course of action. From Tuesday, we will launch a vehement protest,” said Reddy.

Congress floor leader Udayashankar said Siddaiah was removed for unearthing the mega scam. The scam, detected in three Assembly constituencies of Gandhi Nagar, Malleswaram and Rajarajeshwari Nagar, is estimated to be worth about Rs 1,539 crore.

The Opposition has put the figure much higher at Rs 15,000 crore to Rs Rs 20,000 crore. Days after Siddaiah handed over the case to the BMTF, a mysterious fire had broken out in the BMTF police station, reducing loads of records to ashes. The files relating to the scam, however, were spared. Meanwhile, two BJP MLAs - M Srinivas and Ashwath Narayan - besides deputy mayor S Harish, Council leader Nanjundappa and other BJP corporators opposed the inquiry by BMTF.

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