Congress MLC Veerabhadrappa in a spot over fake travel bills

Congress MLC Veerabhadrappa in a spot over fake travel bills

Writes to Council secretariat that he is ready to repay the money

Congress MLC Veerabhadrappa  in a spot over fake travel bills

Senior Congress leader and MLC Allum Veerabhadrappa appears to have found himself in a spot over the controversy related to fake travel bills.

Veerabhadrappa has recently written to the Legislative Council Secretariat stating that he is ready to repay the money he had claimed as travel allowance if it is not as per the procedure. The MLC has also requested the Secretariat to let him know the total amount that he is supposed to repay in this regard. But the Council Secretariat had so far kept the letter under wraps. The Secretariat has forwarded the letter to Council Chairman D H Shankaramurthy.

The BJP leader in Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council Padmanabha Reddy had accused eight MLCs, including Veerabhadrappa, of claiming lakhs of rupees as travel allowance from the Council Secretariat by submitting fake bills. He had complained against the lawmakers to the Council Chairman and urged him to disqualify them. Raghu Achar, N S Boseraju, S Ravi, R B Thimmapura (all Congress), C R Manohar, Appaji Gowda (both JD-S) and M D Lakshminarayana (Independent) are the other MLCs.

Reddy’s contention is that the MLCs had voted in favour of the Congress in the 2016 BBMP mayoral election, claiming that they are residents of Bengaluru. And at the same time they also claimed about Rs 37 lakh as travel allowance between October 2016 and April 2017 from the Council Secretariat stating that they reside in various cities and towns of the state. Veerabhadrappa had claimed Rs 3.20 lakh as travel allowance stating that he was a resident of Ballari, according to Reddy.

Subsequent to Reddy’s complaint, Shankaramurthy issued a notice to all the eight MLCs, seeking their response. They were given time till June 3 to respond. But they sought one month’s time, which was granted.

Veerabhadrappa wrote to the Secretariat much before the Chairman issued the notice. Veerabhadrappa is a Congress leader from Ballari. He has also served as a minister and state Congress president in the past.

When contacted, Veerabhadrappa said: “All bills are prepared by the Accounts section of the Secretariat. I have nothing to do with them. So, I have asked the Council Secretariat to let me know if there is any procedural lapse. And I have told them that, if necessary, I am ready to pay back the money. I have not done anything that is against the rule book in my long political career. It is actually the duty of the Council Secretariat to ensure that all procedures are followed.”

But Reddy said Veerabhadrappa’s letter has proven that he is guilty. “Being lawmakers, the MLCs are supposed to be role models for others. Instead, they have misled the Council and claimed money by submitting fake bills. The Chairman should disqualify them immediately,” he demanded.

Reddy also accused Veerabhadrappa of voting in both the BBMP and the Ballari mayoral elections. Soon after voting in the BBMP mayoral election in September last year, he got his name in the voters’ list in Bengaluru deleted. Later, his name was included in the voters’ list in Ballari and he voted in the Ballari mayoral election held in April 2017.

Shankarmurthy was not available for comment.

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