Lokayukta police raid MLA's kins, associates

The Lokayukta police on Thursday conducted surprise raids on the known associates, friends and relatives of BJP MLA S R Vishwanath.

Six premises, including two offices and a petrol bunk were raided as part of ongoing investigations referred by the Special Lokayukta court, based on a private complaint filed by V Shashidhar, a resident of Judicial Layout. Shashidhar had alleged instances of cheating and acquiring denotified land by Vishwanath. The police had earlier conducted raids on Vishwanath’s house and offices on December 16.

The houses and offices of Somashekar Reddy (a relative), Ramalinge Gowda (friend), Satheesh (friend) and Vinaykumar (relative) were searched. A petrol bunk, Venkateshwara Service Station, belonging to Vishwanath’s wife Vanishree was also raided along with the office of Ramalinge Gowda. All the six premises are located in and around Yelahanka.

Sources in the Lokayukta police said that the searches, based on credible information, were conducted as they were trying to recover evidence of ‘benaami’ properties owned by Vishwanath. Four sale deeds belonging to Vishwanath have been seized.

The police have collectively seized 90 sale deeds, details of 23 bank accounts and documents related to ownership of a wine shop, two bars and restaurant in the name of Ramalinge Gowda’s wife. About 1.14 kg of gold and 13 kg of silver have been found in the house of Ramalinge Gowda, who is also said to be a BJP party worker. Cash in excess of Rs 10 lakh and seven vehicles across the six premises were also found.

Shashidhar had alleged that Vishwanath worked as employee of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) from 1985 to 2008 April. At the same time, he became a Zilla Panchayat member from Hesaraghatta constituency and completed his full term from 2000-2005 without resigning his job at HAL. The complainant says that Vishwanath continued to receive salary and other perks from ZP and from HAL simultaneously. 

Vishwanath is also accused of acquiring assets worth more than Rs 70 crore value in the present real estate market, even though his salary did not exceed Rs 20 lakh during his tenure at HAL.

Vishwanath is supposed to have purchased two different properties in Survey Nos 3 and 38 at Sriramanahalli in Hesaraghatta hobli of Bangalore North taluk from the GPA holder Sakamma. This land, according to the complaint, belonged to the Karnataka Housing Board and was notified by the government in 2009.

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