Ministers direct action on official for embezzlement

District In-charge Minister V Somanna

District In-charge Minister V Somanna and Rural Development Minister K S Eshwarappa have recommended disciplinary action against Kodagu Zilla Panchayat Engineering Department Executive Engineer Srikanthaiah for depositing flood relief funds in a private bank account.

The direction by the minister has come as the charges on the official has been proved during a departmental inquiry.

Out of the relief fund of Rs 28 crore, meant for the repair of rural roads and drinking water units, Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy had released Rs 21 crore to the Zilla Panchayat in the first phase.

The amount was supposed to be deposited in a separate account in a nationalised bank. But, Zilla Panchayat Executive Engineer Srikanthaiah deposited the entire amount of Rs 21 crore in a private bank, opening a savings account on March 14, 2019.

The move by the official gave rise to suspicions. The Zilla Panchayat members who alleged misappropriation of funds demanded an inquiry. Zilla Panchayat CEO K Lakshmi Priya had also recommended for action against Srikanthaiah. 

An official inquiry was carried out by the Chief Accounts Officer in this regard. It has been mentioned in the investigative report that the approval by the Finance Department was necessary to open a new account for the deposit of relief funds in a nationalised or a private bank. But, the rule was not followed.

Zilla Panchayat CEO K Lakshmi Priya stated that Srikanthaiah did not avail prior permission to open the bank account. The private bank account details have been looked into and it is found that the money is still in the account.

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