Lokayukta cops trap DCF, 4 other officials

Forest officials who were caught by Lokayukta police on Friday, coming out of the District and the Sessions Court. DH Photo

The arrested officials face the charges of leaking out the information on the government’s specifications on the bid regarding an open auction of trees at Thithimathi forest depot in southern Kodagu. They have been charged of misusing their power and possessing illegal money.

This is for the first time in the history of Kodagu, five officials of the Forest department have been caught by the Lokayukta police from a single place.

The arrested are Virajpet sub-division Deputy Conservator of Forests H C Kantharaj, Thithimathi division Assistant Conservators of Forests C J Kariappa, M G Alexander, guard N M Nachappa and Thithimathi forest depot Range Forest Officer C K Muttanna.
The arrested officials were produced before the District and Sessions Judge Ashok G Ningannavar. The court has rejected the bail plea of the accused and has ordered judicial custody till October 15.

An open auction of trees had taken place at the Thithimathi forest depot on Thursday. The accused have been charged of leaking out the information to the bidders much ahead of this auction by misusing their powers.

They also face the charges of tampering the documents as per their convenience. It has also been alleged that the officials have sold trees illegally in the name of two persons who had not taken part in the bid.

The Lokayukta police also recovered Rs 2,49,650 from the officials. Kantharaj possessed Rs 27,550 while Kariappa had Rs 8,700, Alexander Rs 14,400, Muttanna Rs 99,000 and Nachappa possessed Rs one lakh.

As per a complaint lodged by an invidual with Lokayukta Bangalore rural station Inspector Vazir Khan, Inspector Prasanna V Raju accompanied by Madikeri Lokayukta police raided the depot on Thursday and the inspection continued till the wee hours of Friday.

Cases have been registered against the accused as per IPC Column 198, 420, 468, 471, 120(3), 13(1)(C) and 13(1)(D).

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