PWD secy stays put in B'lore against Lokayukta wish

PWD secy stays put in B'lore against Lokayukta wish

PWD secy stays put in B'lore against Lokayukta wish

The controversy over the multi-crore bogus bill scam in the Magadi subdivision of the Public Works Department (PWD) does not seem to die.

Sadashivareddy B Patil, the PWD secretary, was one of several officials and contractors whose premises the Lokayukta police had raided last April. He was the chief engineer at the time of the scam (in 2011-12) and eventually climbed up the ranks to reach the present position. After the raid, the Lokayukta recommended his suspension pending investigation.

The recommendation was made by the Lokayukta police in a letter to the State government on May 3, according to sources. The least action would be to move him out of Bangalore, as he is in a position to tamper with evidence, the Lokayukta police had stressed.

Patil, however, continued to hold the same position until September 6 when the government finally moved him to a non-executive position, but he remains posted in the City. Thus, he is allowed to remain in Bangalore with access to many files, sources pointed out, fearing that it could impede the investigation.

The government, on the other hand, has argued that there has been “no concrete evidence” of Patil’s direct involvement in the scam, and it could do no more than transfer him.

A source, however, said the government’s stand was “incomprehensible”. “The fact that the Lokayukta is yet to complete the probe and that it recommended Patil’s suspension pending the same means there are legitimate fears that he could tamper with evidence,” the source asserted. “We fail to understand why the government is not taking up the matter seriously.”

The source further said that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was the Leader of Opposition when the scam surfaced and he had taken up the matter seriously then.

The Rs 600-crore scam pertains to violation of the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act in awarding tenders and creation of fake or bogus bills.