Former BBMP chief behind Rs 2000 cr illegal hoarding scam, says ex-official who unearthed it

K Mathai pointed fingers at former Commissioner Lakshminarayana, and said that the latter had also victimised him for exposing the scam.
Former BBMP chief behind Rs 2000 cr illegal hoarding scam, says ex-official who unearthed it
Former BBMP chief behind Rs 2000 cr illegal hoarding scam, says ex-official who unearthed it
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A former Assistant Commissioner of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has alleged that former BBMP chief M Lakshminarayana was behind the Rs 2,000 cr illegal hoarding scam that rocked the Palike last year.

K Mathai, the former Assistant Commissioner (Advertising) who unearthed the scam last year, has reportedly submitted a report to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, which points fingers at M Lakshminarayana, Principle Secretary of the Public Works Department and former BBMP Commissioner, as the key man in the scam.

Sandeep Moudgal of The Times of India reported that Mathai also sent a letter to the CM, along with his 101-page report, in which he alleged that he was being harassed during the course of his duties in various departments.

However, the TOI report said that the CM’s office claimed not to have any knowledge of Mathai’s report.

The ad scam, unearthed by Mathai, involved revenue losses of up to Rs 2,000 crores due to the BBMP turning a blind eye to illegal hoardings erected in Bengaluru. According to some 2016 reports, as many as 4,000 hoardings out of over 6,000 were illegally erected.

In his letter, accessed by TOI, Mathai has complained that Lakshminarayana had victimised him because he had named the former Commissioner in his report. Mathai claimed that Lakshminarayana had made adverse remarks against him in order to delay his promotion.

“Since I had to mention along with all documents about the truth that the above se nior officer was involved in the mushrooming of illegal advertisements throughout Bengaluru, the same officer has recently passed an adverse remark in my ACR so that my promotion is delayed," Mathai was quoted by TOI as writing.

Mathai also alleged that Lakshminarayana was pressurising other senior officers to victimise him.

Mathai was shunted out of the BBMP in April 2016, after the advertising scam came to light, based on a report by BBMP Commissioner G. Naik, alleging that his behavior and actions were contrary to service rules. The report said that Mathai had undertaken the investigations independently without instructions from superiors, and had also released information directly to the media.

At the time of transfer, Mathai was holding the position of Deputy Commissioner (Markets). He was sent to Bagalkot and given the role of special land acquisition officer, allegedly as a “punishment” posting.

But he never took the role citing medical issues, and was transferred to Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms. In his nine years of service as a KAS officer, Mathai has been transferred 29 times.

Mathai has reportedly asked for an “accountability committee” to be set up to tackle “spiteful and vengeful” acts by senior officials in the bureaucracy.

However, speaking to TOI, Lakshminarayana denied Mathai’s charges. He claimed that Mathai had not performed well in any department and that this opinion of him was shared by many other department heads. He also dared Mathai to prove the charges he had laid against him.

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