Corporators humiliate whistleblower

They summon engineer Devaraj and ridicule his technical skills

Corporators humiliate whistleblower

Congress MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao speaks at the BBMP meeting in Bangalore on Wednesday. DH Photo

Chief Engineer N Devaraj, who heads the Technical Vigilance Cell under Commissioner (TVCC), was made to stand before the corporators who questioned his ability as an engineer, held him responsible for shoddy execution of projects that he was in charge of for a brief period, and demanded his suspension.

Ironically enough, the MLAs and corporators expressed their sympathy for Gandhi Nagar division executive engineer Idaya Vendon, who was arrested in connection with the scam, and demanded his release and revocation of his suspension.

Apparently having come prepared to target Devaraj, the Congress and the BJP corporators along with MLAs Dinesh Gundu Rao and Ashwath Narayan, launched a verbal assault on the officer, alleging that the probe was conducted in an improper way and with political motives. The two MLAs are attending the council for the second day to raise the issue.

Expressing his discontent over the scam report, Dinesh Gundu Rao questioned: “How were bills of fake job codes passed, bills sanctioned and the contractors paid their dues? How could people cheat a computerised system that can easily detect and reject fake job codes? There is an absolute absence of clarity in the probe.”

He said he is pained that an “innocent Idaya Vendon was made a scapegoat of a baseless investigation.” He demanded a CBI probe into the case.

Intervening, JD(S) floor leader Padmanabha Reddy demanded that the matter be handed over to the Lokayukta. But when he found no takers for his demand, his party staged a walkout for the day.

‘Rubbish the report’

Malleswaram MLA Ashwath Narayan demanded the Commissioner to rubbish the report and suspend Devaraj for coming out with a biased report which brought a bad name to the BJP and the BBMP. Former mayor and Hanumanth Nagar corporator K Chandrashekar too blamed the “shoddy” inquiry and questioned Devaraj’s capabilities.

Joining the attack, BJP corporator H Ravindra blamed Devaraj for the delay in the execution of Kadirenahalli Underpass work, poor planning of Tagore Circle Underpass and flooding at Gali Anjaneya Temple. In the barrage of salvoes fired from all around, none pointed out that Devaraj was given charge of the projects that were mid way, and that all were incomplete, a year and half after Devaraj was divested of the charge.

In his reply, the chief engineer refuted the sweeping statements made against him. He said he took 20 days and not two days to submit his report. He also said he did not go through 10,000-odd files but a mere 153 files, based on which he prepared the report.

Performance budget

A system of performance budget will be introduced in which no BBMP division will be allowed to spend more than the sanctioned funds, said new BBMP commissioner, Shankarlinge Gowda. In case of excess expendidture, the funds will be frozen, he said.
“This will involve a financial alert system. This is what I call systemic improvement,” said Gowda.

He said he would not disband TVCC as demanded by some corporators, arguing that any such act would make “the officers heroes and the corporators villains” in the public eye. Besides the TVCC, there would also be an expert committee comprising members of the corporators’ choice, such as retired engineers to investigate all the cases including the fake bill case,” Gowda said.

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