The BJP alleges that the government was paying high prices for laptops that were of poor quality.

BJP accuses Ktaka govt of laptop scam House Committee to probe File image of Basavaraj Rayaraddi
news Politics Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 18:51

It’s been a stormy winter session of the Karnataka Legislature in Belagavi that began on November 15.  

The Legislature has witnessed controversial bills being passed, while proceedings have also been stalled with the BJP demanding the resignation of Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George over the death of DySP Ganapathy.

BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa called for Higher Education Basavaraj Rayaraddi’s resignation over the alleged ‘laptop scam’.

Background

As an extension of the 2016-17 scheme, the state government had announced that free laptops would be given to 1.5 lakh government college students of professional courses. A budget of around Rs 300 had been allocated for the year 2017-18.

However, on Friday BJP’s Raghunath Rao Malkapure raised the issue in the Legislative Council alleging financial anomaly in procuring laptops meant for students as part of the government scheme, reported New Indian Express. He alleged that the government was paying high prices for laptops that were of poor quality.

What is the ‘scam’?

During his speech on Friday at the Question Hour, Malkapure alleged that the minister received Rs 300 crore in kickbacks in this new scheme.

The BJP leader alleged that former Collegiate Education Commissioner MN Ajay Nagabhushanwas transferred as he had objected to calling for separate tenders for the project as proposed by the minister.

In his letter to Chief Secretary Subhashchandra Kuntia, Nagabhushan had allegedly said that the price of laptops were hiked by Rs 10, 000 each in the new tender (compared to 2016-17) and the government could have saved if it had called for a unified bulk tender.

In the 2016-17 budget, the state government had announced free laptops of students to government college students of professional courses and subsequently floated tenders to distribute 37, 000 laptops to Dalit students.

“In the last academic year, the government procured them at Rs. 14,692 per piece. This year, the cost of one laptop has shot up to Rs. 24,692. This will cost the State exchequer Rs. 300 crore more,” BS Yeddyurappa said.

He said, "We have  decided to call tenders division-wise to buy the laptops at the most affordable rate."

With the Opposition protesting, Higher Education Minister Rayaraddi conceded to the demands, and agreed to the constitution of a House Committee of the Legislative Council to probe the issue.

Council Chairman, DH Shankarmurthy (a BJP leader) said the committee would submit its report in 15 days, reported Deccan Chronicle.

 

 

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