Cycle scam investigation fizzling out

Committee was constituted in Dec 2009

The Legislative Council set up the six-member committee headed by Nanaiah on December 23, 2009 to investigate the alleged irregularities in the Government’s flagship programme to distribute bicycles to girls studying in Government high schools. The committee had three months’ time to submit its report.

The Opposition parties had alleged that the Government paid exorbitant price to buy the bicycles. The Government had paid Rs 2,400 per bicycle, while Opposition members claimed that it was available for Rs 2,100.

But the committee, sources said, could meet only once in the given time and could not even gather basic information on the issue, let alone preparing a detailed report. Hence, it sought time extension till December 2010, which was granted by the Chairman pending approval from the House.

When the time extension proposal was actually taken up in the House (in July 2010), Home Minister V S Acharya urged the committee to complete its task at the earliest and stated that delay would defeat the very purpose of constituting the committee.

Nanaiah raised objection to his statement and said he has been insulted. He also announced his resignation as the head of the Committee. Subsequently, Kondaiah and Srinivas also resigned.

Council Chairman D H Shankarmurthy recently made BJP MLC Thontadarya as its head. Presently, the Committee has BJP MLCs Ganesh Karnik, M A Limbekai, besides independent MLC Maritibbegowda as its members. The big question now is: Will the committee’s report be impartial, especially in the absence of members of the Opposition parties, the Congress and the JD(S)?

Former opposition leader in the Council V S Ugrappa, who actually forced the Government to set up the committee, and Kondaiah are demanding that the Government should hand over the issue to the Lokayukta.

Official sources who initially worked with the Committee said it is extremely difficult to verify the quality of about 10 lakh bicycles distributed in 2008-09 and 2009-10 across the State.

“Majority of the bicycles have undergone repair many times over the period. It is not possible to come to any conclusion on their quality now,” officials pointed out.

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