Were development funds diverted for Karnataka bureaucrat’s wife’s election campaign?
The Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha (KPRS) has alleged that funds for development works in Koppal district were diverted for the election campaign of the wife of a senior bureaucrat in the Minor Irrigation Department.
The scam in the Minor Irrigation Department has taken a new turn with the fresh allegations made by the Koppal district unit of the Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha, who staged a protest in front of the office of the district Anti-Corruption Bureau on Friday.
Koppal district president of the KPRS Nagaraj alleged that funds allotted for the development of tanks in Koppal and Raichur districts were diverted for the election campaign of Minor Irrigation Secretary’s Prabhakar Chinni’s wife. Chinni’s wife had contested the Hanumanalu ward of the Zilla Panchayat on a Congress ticket. However, she lost to a BJP candidate.
Minor Irrigation Minister Shivraj Tangadagi told The News Minute that these allegations were false.
Koppal district president of the KPRS Nagaraj said that they smelled something fishy when panchayat officials paid villagers less wages for de-silting work on Ramadurga lake.
Information obtained under RTI documents showed that the minor irrigation department was to develop 20-30 tanks in Raichur and Koppal districts before the monsoons set in, but work done on the ground in the two districts suggested that money spent was lesser than the money allocated, Nagaraj said.
Fake bills had been generated and money claimed for this non-existent work. Some of the money was partially diverted for the election campaign of Chinni’s wife, Nagaraj alleged.
Nagaraj alleged that over 20 contractors, who are supporters of Tangadagi, had got contracts to carry out desilting of the tanks bypassing the tender process.
Asked about this, Tangadagi said that 17 contractors had been blacklisted, but said nothing about the allegation that they were his supporters.
The Sangha had been trying to file a complaint with the local unit of the Anti-Corruption Bureau since March, but the ACB allegedly refused to register it, he alleged. “Until May 2, Kushtagi taluk DySP Srikanth Kattimani has been evading the complaint and has not given us any information,” Nagaraj said.
“And now instead of arresting the contractors, who have swindled the money, the minister suspended the lower rank officials in the taluk for producing fake bills,” Nagaraj said.