Lokayukta police to probe illegal ad hoardings in City

Lokayukta police to probe illegal ad hoardings in City

Upa Lokayukta gives order as BBMP fails to respond; enquiry also into missing files

Lokayukta police to probe illegal ad hoardings in City

Upa Lokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi has ordered the Lokayukta police to investigate illegal advertisement hoardings in Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits, including missing of files pertaining to advertisement license and tax collection from its eight zones.

The action came as the civic body failed to respond to a report sent by the Upa Lokayukta asking it to streamline its advertisement policy.

The Upa Lokayukta had received four different complaints on illegal hoardings, flex boards and buntings. Upon enquiry, joint commissioners of eight BBMP zones – East, West, South, Yelahanka, Mahadevapura, Bommanahalli, Rajarajeshwarinagar and Dasarahalli – as well as the assistant commissioner (advertisement) admitted illegal hoardings existed in the City. “Despite the directions given by the High Court and this institution to check illegal hoardings, there was hardly any action.

After waiting for sufficient time, a detailed report was prepared with certain suggestions and sent to the mayor and the commissioner of the BBMP. They were asked to submit the response by February 16. However, till today, neither the commissioner nor the mayor has responded,” Justice Adi said.

Action taken report

The Upa Lokayukta had also directed the officials concerned to submit an action taken report on the number of renewals made, advertisement tax and penalty collected. But the joint commissioners of respective zones and the assistant commissioner claimed that files pertaining to advertisement were missing.

The Upa Lokayukta then directed the officials to hold an enquiry and submit a report by February 24.

The assistant commissioner (advertisement) eventually submitted that the respective zones had only 1,745 files on advertisement out of more than 4,500. He also submitted that advertisement tax and penalty had not been collected in any zone.

“Almost from 2008 onwards, there is no proper record of actual amount due and the recovery. Apart from large-scale irregularities in issuance or renewal of permission, the statement by the assistant commissioner confirms there is a systematic nexus between the BBMP authorities and the advertiser or advertising agency, which has caused huge loss of revenue, and this is not possible without the connivance of some of the local political leaders. After considering all the possibilities, I felt the matter now requires deeper probe by the Lokayukta police,” Justice Adi said.

The Upa Lokayukta has directed the Superintendent of Police (Lokayukta-Bengaluru City) to investigate into the matter and submit a report. The mayor and the commissioner of the BBMP have been directed to respond in person on March 6 to the preliminary report issued by the Upa Lokayukta.

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