Now, Siddaramaiah in soup over HBCS flaws

He ordered co-op dept to follow ministers direction to relax rules for Society

Many of the State’s politicians are linked in one way or the other to violations of law by a majority of the house building co-operative societies (HBCSs) in the City.

The latest political bigwig facing allegations related to such irregularities is Siddaramaiah, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

It has now come to light that Siddaramaiah’s letter to the registrar of the Co-operation Department, when he was the deputy chief minister in the Dharam Singh government, was responsible for revoking the ban on registration of fresh HBCSs in the State.

The State government had, in 1985-86, passed an order banning registration of new HBCSs.

The then registrar’s order dated October 17, 2005, in the preamble, said that a government letter from then deputy chief minister (Siddaramaiah) had directed him to follow the instructions of the then Minister for Co-operation (R V Deshpande) in a proposal pertaining to allow a specific credit co-operative society to take up house building activities.

Deshpande, in turn, directed the registrar to relax the rules barring registration of HBCSs and allow Postal and Telegraph Credit Co-operative Society to take up house building.
“The credit Society had already violated the rules and taken up house building activity, although it had permission only to function as a credit society,” a source in the State audit department said.

Not a conscious act

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Siddaramaiah said: “I do not recollect the matter now. But, I can state with certainty that I would have never done anything like that consciously, had I known there was some irregularity. All the officers who have worked with me when I have held any post can vouch for this.”

According to the audit report, the Society had incurred a loss of Rs 13 crore and the auditors had found that it had incurred the loss after it had invested its money in housing activity, for which it had no permission.

Post-inquiry, it was held that the office bearers were responsible for the loss and that the same (Rs 13 crore) should be recovered from them. The Society (now known as the Karnataka Telecom House Building Co-operative Society), even before the recovery could be done, sent a proposal to the government seeking permission to take up housing activity.

It was at this time that Siddaramaiah sent the government letter to the registrar of the Co-operation Department.

Deccan Herald has already reported the links of ministers and former ministers of Karnataka, including Mallikarjuna Kharge, D K Shivakumar, V Somanna, Bache Gowda and the sons of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa with one or the other scams related to HBCSs.

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