Archaeology director digs out skeletons from dept cupboard

Archaeology director digs out skeletons from dept cupboard

Mafia ruling the roost, says Gopal

Director of the State Archaeology department, R Gopal, made a startling revelation on Thursday that his department was “run by a mafia”.

Speaking at the 125th year celebrations of the Department of Epigraphy at the Exhibition Grounds here, Gopal said fake  bills to the tune of Rs 40 crore had been prepared at the house of conservation engineer S M Pujari at Siddartha Nagar in the city.

Gopal said there was little room for corruption, as long as the department was receiving Rs one crore from the government. However, the situation started “degenerating” after funds were sanctioned in several crores of rupees.

The officer rued that his hands were tied.

“If I disclose further, those in the mafia will either issue a life threat to me, get me raided by the Lokayukta or even get me transferred after giving a bribe of Rs 10 lakh to the minister,” Gopal said.

Speaking to the media later, Gopal said he had been unable to report the matter to the higher-ups. Of the total Rs 100 crore sanctioned under the 13th Finance Commission for the conservation of monuments in the State, Rs 50 crore had been released in two instalments. Bogus bills have been prepared for works worth
Rs 40 crore, he said.

Incidentally, both Gopal and Pujari were booked by the Lokayukta police for allegedly owning properties disproportionate to their known sources of income.

While the charges against Gopal are still under investigation, Pujari was convicted in a case. The court awarded rigorous imprisonment, besides imposing a fine of Rs 50 lakh on Pujari. However, he moved the High Court and succeeded in getting a stay on the sentence.