Govt to scrap RDPR panel setup during BJP regime

Govt to scrap RDPR panel setup during BJP regime

Orders probe into irregularities by committee

Govt to scrap RDPR panel setup during BJP regime

 The state government has decided to scrap the State Level Empowered Committee (SLEC) constituted by the previous BJP government to sanction drinking water schemes under the rural development and panchayat raj department (RDPR), citing irregularities.

The RDPR department has stated that the SLEC comprising officials and constituted during the tenure of Jagadish Shettar as chief minister, had exceeded its limits and sanctioned tenders in violation of rules, taken decisions without quorum. Decisions were taken during elections violating model code of conduct.

SLEC will be scrapped after placing the issue before the State Cabinet, states an order signed by RDPR Minister H K Patil on Saturday. Till that time, the SLEC will not be authorised to hold meetings or take any decisions. An independent inquiry has also been ordered into the said irregularities.

The move is seen in political circles as to hit back at Shettar, who is now the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, for exposing Rs 190-crore scam in the setting up of water-testing laboratories and purchase of water-testing equipment in 146 taluks in the state during the tenure of the present government.

The order says SLEC awarded tenders in 35 instances since 2013 violating norms. Besides, the preliminary probe revealed that officials of the committee were also responsible for illegally parking department funds in various banks. SLEC was constituted on March 15, 2013 but got the go ahead from the Governor only on December 17, 2014. Yet, the committee met nine times during this period and took decision sometimes without the required quorum.

At two meetings held on March 15, 2013 and April 29, 2013, the panel cleared projects worth Rs 474.15 crore despite the model code of the conduct being in place due to the assembly polls, the order states.

Patil has ordered that the documents pertaining to the decisions taken by the panel be kept in safe custody by a senior officer. All documents should also be digitised, the minister stated.