Congress demands CID enquiry into embezzlement case

Kodagu Zilla Panchayat President B A Harish speaks at the general meeting of the Zilla Panchayat on Thursday. Zilla Panchayat Vice President Lokeshwari Gopal and Chief Executive Officer K Lakshmipriya were present.

A row over the misappropriation of funds by Zilla Panchayat Executive Engineer Srikanthaiah rocked the Kodagu Zilla Panchayat general meeting on Thursday.

Srikanthaiah was accused of depositing relief fund to the tune of Rs 21 crore in a private bank without obtaining prior permission from his superiors. Opposition members raised a din and suspected that the funds had been misappropriated.

They urged the government to hand over the case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Kodagu Zilla Panchayat (ZP) President B A Harish said that a report on Executive Engineer Srikanthaiah depositing money in a private bank was submitted and the report was forwarded to the government for initiating action. But the Congress and JD(S) members were not satisfied with the response of Zilla Panchayat President.

Member Sarita said that if the case was not handed over to the CID, then the people would conclude that the BJP members were hand in glove with the official. Her allegation enraged ruling party members, which again led to pandemonium and heated debate amongst members.

Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer (CEO) K Lakshmipriya said three months ago, a resident had complained to the Panchayat Raj department against the misappropriation of funds. “Thus an inquiry was conducted by the Chief Accounts Officer and the report was submitted to the government,” she said.

Member K P Chandrakala sought answers on why the report was kept under wraps and sent directly to the government.

Congress member Shivu Madappa charged that the officials were filling their pockets during natural calamities. “Probe must be initiated into all flood relief works. The administration is answerable to the people of Kodagu,” he said.

Meanwhile, members from the opposition including Shivu Madappa and Bananda Prathyu boycotted the meeting. Earlier a minute silence was observed in memory of those who had who lost their lives during floods in the district.

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