Govt continues to reject Loka report against its staff

Govt continues to reject Loka report against its staff

The state government has rejected a Lokayukta report recommending departmental enquiry against a KAS officer for alleged misappropriation of Rs 53 lakh, after receiving comments from the officer and the Muzrai Department.

This has come close on the heels the circular issued by Chief Secretary asking department heads not to take comments from the accused on Lokayukta report.

The case in hand is about misappropriation of funds for construction of Yatri Nivas at a temple in Belagavi district. The complaint was filed by another KAS officer (now retired) Y S Patil against M R Hiremath (now retired). The complaint was filed with the Lokayukta in 2006 against Hiremath, when the latter was working as an administrator of Renuka Yellamma Temple in Saundatti taluk.

The enquiry that continued over 10 years, finally resolved that Hiremath was responsible for the issuance of changed plan and estimate without obtaining any sanction or technical and finance clearance. This resulted in the unauthorised expenditure of Rs 53 lakh.   

Finally, Upalokayukta recommended disciplinary proceedings against the officer in 2016. The order says, “The facts and materials on record prima facie show that M R Hiremath has committed misconduct under rule 3 (1) of KCS (Conduct) Rules, recommendation is made under section 12 (3) of Karnataka Lokayukta Act to the competent authority to initiate disciplinary proceedings and to entrust the enquiry to this authority (Lokayukta).’’    

The state government took two years by taking the opinion of the accused government servant, the Muzrai Department and the Revenue Department. On October 6, 2018, the Department of Personnel and Administrative Services (DPAR) dropped the allegations against the official and rejected the Lokayukta report.  

The fact that the department heads taking comments from the accused government officials before taking action on the Lokayukta report was evident from the circular issued by the Chief Secretary in the second week of September.

Sources in the Lokayukta said that the effort taken by the institution to hold an enquiry to fix responsibility is dismissed by the state government.

“This has been the practice since several years. In fact, several such 12 (3) reports are even placed before the Cabinet to reject the report giving a clean chit to the officials. During the previous government, the last cabinet, before the elections, rejected several 12 (3) reports,’’ a senior official said.

Procedural lapses

As per the provisions under the Lokayukta Act, Lokayukta or Upalokayukta sends a report to the state government whenever allegations made in the complaint are fully or partially established.

The report is sent to the government under the provisions of Section 12 (3) of the Lokayukta Act. The competent authority in the government will have to intimate the Lokayukta or Upalokayukta the action taken within three months.