Staff crunch affects Lokayukta probe into illegal mining

40 posts of probing officers in B'lore have been vacant for 3 months

Staff crunch affects Lokayukta probe into illegal mining

The Karnataka Lokayukta will not investigate any illegal mining cases unless the 40 posts of investigating officers (IOs)of the rank of police inspectors are filled. The cases were transferred to it by the State government earlier in December.

Sources in the Lokayukta police told Deccan Herald that as many as 40 posts of IOs in Bangalore alone had remained vacant for almost three months. Hence, top officials of the Lokayukta police decided not to investigate illegal mining cases handed over to them recently unless adequate staff was appointed.

The main reason for the vacancies, officials say, is the delay in promoting several police sub-inspectors to the posts of police inspectors. The delay was felt more acutely after the huge backlog of cases, sources said. It is said that the creation of a separate cadre for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region and the suspension of the transfer process earlier this year have caused the delay in promotions.

H N S Rao, the Lokayukta Additional Director General of Police, said: “We have been in constant touch with the ADGP (Administration) of Karnataka police for the postings. We have been promised that the matter will be sorted out soon.”

Priority

Being short-staffed has also meant the Lokayukta police would handle only the important cases and on a priority basis, officials explained. It is said that the Lokayukta police are now pushing 11 major cases – which are in the advanced stage of investigation – for completion.

Among these cases are the raids on the Kannada and Culture department, and disproportionate assets cases against senior IAS and IPS officers. These cases had been kept pending over the last few months as the serving IOs reeled under work pressure.

Under illegal mining, the Lokayukta police can investigate illicit extraction, trading, transportation, evasion of forest development tax and royalty and related matters.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee has directed the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) not to indefinitely hold on to files seeking sanctions to prosecute the accused officials.

“Orders have been given to the DPAR to quickly clear the files sent by the Lokayukta, seeking permission for prosecution files. Other departments have also been instructed to not delay the permission of prosecution, if the officials have been found guilty,” Mukherjee said.

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