Assembly secy suspended for fiscal indiscipline

Assembly secy suspended for fiscal indiscipline

S Murthy

Assembly Secretary S Murthy was placed under suspension Saturday on charges of ‘financial indiscipline,’ leading to excess expenditure incurred during the 2016 and 2017 Winter sessions of the legislature in Belagavi.

Murthy will remain suspended pending a departmental inquiry as per the Karnataka Civil Service (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, according to an order issued by the Assembly Secretariat. Murthy has refuted the charges, calling his suspension a “conspiracy.”

He was not on good terms with Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, who had ordered a probe into allegations of financial misappropriation. A five-member team headed by State Audit and Accounts Department additional director N B Shivarudrappa submitted a report on December 2.

The Assembly Secretariat was exempted from the tender process - under Section 4(g) of The Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act, 1999 - to make payments worth Rs 20 crore and Rs 21.57 crore for the 2016 and 2017 Belagavi sessions, respectively. However, an additional expenditure of Rs 8.6 crore came to light. Also, questions had been raised on bills for food, pandals, painting work at Suvarna Soudha, toilet works and mosquito control.

“I have also been accused of misleading the earlier speaker by not bringing to notice rules and processes. Our books were audited by the Comptroller & Auditor-General, where none of the reasons stated for my suspension was mentioned. This is a conspiracy to oust me. I will move court,” he told reporters.

He said the suspension order was dated December 27, but he received a copy two days later. “I was very much in office on December 27. What can explain the delay? That’s because on December 27, the previous law minister (Krishna Byre Gowda) was in charge, whereas the current law minister (G Parameshwara), who took charge thereafter, would not have approved this,” he claimed.