Funds misuse during World Kannada Meet alleged

Funds misuse during World Kannada Meet alleged

Lokayukta police book Belgaum deputy commissioner

A social worker has complained to the Lokayukta alleging misappropriation of funds during the three-day World Kannada Meet (WKM) held in Belgaum from March 11, 2011.

Bhimappa Gadad from Mudalgi has filed an affidavit against the State Kannada and Culture Department director and the Belgaum deputy commissioner.

Lokayukta police registered the case on Wednesday last under Section 7 of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984.

In his affidavit before the Lokayukta, copies of which were made available to media here on Saturday, Gadad said around Rs 30 crore was released for the WKM and most of it was misappropriated by the officials.

Some of the documents obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act needed thorough verification, the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit submitted by Gadad, the deputy commissioner released Rs 1.72 crore on February 2 and Rs 2 crore on March 23 to the Public Works Department.

Most of the amount was spent on development of roads in Belgaum City. The department also got confirmation papers that these roads were not taken up for development under any head before.

But the government had released Rs 2.98 crore in 2009 for the purpose during the legislature session at Belgaum and a special grant of Rs 100 crore for development works in the Belgaum City Corporation limits in the 2008-09 Budget.

Hence, there was every possibility of crores of rupees being misappropriated during WKM.

Lodging bills

All rooms of 44 prestigious hotels were taken on rent for lodging VIPs and artistes during the world meet, besides utilising all government guesthouses and inspection bungalows.
A sum of Rs 4 crore was spent on the arrangements.

But, during the same period, blankets, bedsheets and buckets were purchased as part of lodging arrangements for delegates at schools and colleges, spending Rs 75,85,428. Another crore was spent for providing ‘facilities’ such as tents, etc. Here too, a lot of money was misused, Gadad stated in his affidavit.

The affidavit also alleged misappropriation of Rs 40,46,700 paid to the supplier of mementos - 3D sculptures of a horse-riding Rani Chennamma, which were found to be of substandard quality.

The Kannada and Culture department spent Rs 7.93 crore for entertainment programmes during the meet, of which Rs 25 lakh was paid to Lahari Recording Company of Bangalore and Rs 10,34,333 was drawn for the self-expenditure of the department.

But there is no word on the remaining amount, the affidavit alleged. The affidavit also cited five more similar instances, obtained under the Right to Information Act.

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