'Tainted' DGET officer goes scot-free, holds key position

An officer in the Department of Employment and Training (DGET) continues to enjoy the benefits of his post and the perks that come with it, despite being convicted by a Special Lokayukta Court for indulging in corruption.

Thanks to legal options available to a convicted official, Shivalingamurthy, Joint Director (Administration) at the Bangalore office of DGET,  continues in his post, even as the government waits for the final disposal of his petitions.

The position enjoyed by Shivalingamurthy is only next to that of the Commissioner of DGET.

While working as the joint director in Mysore, Shivalingamurthy was trapped by the Lokayukta police in December 2006, after S M Marulasiddappa - who owned three technical training institutes - complained against him for demanding a bribe of Rs 20,000. The bribe was sought to accord sanction for approving the list of students and to release salary grants to the employees of the three institutes.

Shivalingamurthy was sentenced to one year rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 40,000 was imposed on him by the 3rd Additional Sessions and Special Judge, Mysore on October 17, 2011. Shivalingamurthy appealed against this sentence in the High Court and it gave an interim order for suspension of the sentence.

This was not the first time that he was caught. In 2003, the Lokayukta police had raided his house and office and recovered Rs 12.21 lakh in cash from his house.

The Lokayukta police were investigating allegations that money was allegedly being collected from ITI students in the State to ensure that they passed the examinations. He had been suspended later. Following a departmental inquiry, an order had been issued to dismiss him from service in July 2009. Shivalingamurthy has also challenged this in court.

Tanveer Sait, MLA of Narasimharaja constituency in Mysore, who raised the issue in the Assembly, says the government’s inaction is tantamount to encouraging corrupt practices. “This will also reduce the fear that government officials have for rules,” he says.

Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, in the Assembly, said they would take a decision after consulting the department’s senior officials. But the fact is that the government says its hands are tied. In response to Sait’s question, the government clearly stated that Shivalingamurthy has been allowed to continue in his post as the High Court has suspended the sentence in one case and judgment is awaited in the other.

Asked whether having him in such a responsible position would not convey a wrong message, the government defended its action saying officers work under the Commissioner and the question of conveying a wrong message does not arise.

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