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Karnataka Valmiki Corporation scam: SIT formed after bank’s CBI plaint

The government formed the SIT a day after the Union Bank of India - one of its branches is involved in the embezzlement of Rs 88 crore - lodged a complaint with the CBI.
harath Joshi
Last Updated : 31 May 2024, 15:37 IST
Last Updated : 31 May 2024, 15:37 IST

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Bengaluru: The Siddaramaiah administration on Friday constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe embezzlement of public money at the Valmiki Maharshi ST Development Corporation amid concerns that the CBI’s possible entry could spell trouble for the government.

The government formed the SIT a day after the Union Bank of India - one of its branches is involved in the embezzlement of Rs 88 crore - lodged a complaint with the CBI.

The Opposition BJP is gunning for the resignation of ST Welfare Minister B Nagendra under whose jurisdiction the Corporation functions. Corporation accounts officer Chandrashekhar P died by suicide leaving behind a note naming officials and claiming that the minister’s ‘oral orders’ led to the embezzlement.

The SIT will be headed by Additional DGP Manish Kharbikar, who is also handling the Bitcoin scam investigation. DCP (Traffic - South) Shivaprakash Devaraju, police superintendent (intelligence) Hariram Shankar and CID superintendent Raghavendra K Hegde are members of the SIT.

The government has asked the SIT to probe Chandrashekhar’s suicide as well as allegations of financial irregularities.

Chandrashekhar’s death on May 26 revealed the unauthorised transfer of Rs 187 crore belonging to the Corporation. From that, Rs 88 crore was illegally moved to various accounts belonging to “well-known” IT companies and a Hyderabad-based cooperative bank.

CM taking stock

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy D K Shivakumar are “examining the facts” in the embezzlement case and a decision is likely on whether or not Nagendra should resign. Shivakumar said the government will “not protect anyone” in the case.

Home Minister G Parameshwara said Siddaramaiah will decide on Nagendra’s continuation in the Cabinet. “Whether or not this (scam) happened without the minister’s knowledge needs verification,” Parameshwara said.

Apparently, Nagendra was asked to explain himself. “CM has taken this seriously. He held a meeting and strict instructions were given,” Parameshwara said.

It is said that Corporation chairperson Basanagouda Daddal (Raichur Rural MLA) was also asked to explain. He is learnt to have said that he has not visited the Corporation’s office for months and had no idea about the scam.

On CBI probing the case, Parameshwara said the central agency can interfere if there is a scam involving a sum of Rs 3 crore (in public sector banks). “For now, the CID has started an investigation on the death note and the money transfer,” he said. Parameshwara specified that the government will not refer the case to the CBI voluntarily. “There won’t be two probes. But if it comes to that, then it’ll be transferred from the CID to the CBI,” he said.

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Published 31 May 2024, 15:37 IST

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