BENGALURU: An inquiry ordered by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy into alleged irregularities at the Karnataka State Highway Improvement Project (KSHIP) was conducted and concluded within four months, without summons being issued to the officer at the helm of affairs at KSHIP.
As per documents procured under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, available with The New Indian Express, the Chief Project Officer, IAS officer K Manivannan, and Superintendent Engineer K P Shivakumar were named in a complaint for allegedly increasing the estimated cost of a project between the time it was approved by the state cabinet, and when it was submitted to the finance department.
According to the complaint, based on which the CM ordered an inquiry on June 22, these two officers allegedly violated the administrative approval given by the cabinet for the total amount of Rs 2,037 crore, and increased it to Rs 2,698 crore. The amount allegedly bumped up by officials was Rs 661 crore, and they allegedly submitted wrong information to the finance department while fixing the threshold limit.
The inquiry was supposed to be conducted by PWD additional chief secretary Rajneesh Goel. On November 9, the case was closed with both officials being given a clean chit. Interestingly, Manivannan, who was Chief Project Officer at KSHIP when the allegations were made, left on June 19 to Harvard University for a mid-career course sponsored by the government. Rajneesh Goel, the inquiry officer, declined to comment, saying he was not the competent authority to react on the issue.
Manivannan told TNIE, “I was intimated about this by my colleagues at KSHIP, as the petition came after I left for my studies abroad. I am not surprised as complaints and inquiries are occupational hazards for any bureaucrat who works and takes a decision. I was told this case was closed by the government after a preliminary inquiry. I’m glad that the truth prevailed. My thanks to senior officers and the government for the same. I will continue to work for the government in a transparent and efficient way, without fear of complaints and inquiries.”