State Archaeology, Museum and Heritage Department director Dr R Gopal’s public statement that the department is in the grip of a ‘mafia’ has prompted a Lokayukta police investigation.
The director was reportedly asked by the Lokayukta officials to lodge a complaint. However, when Gopal did not turn up, the Lokayukta police registered a suo motu FIR. On March 14, the director had made a public statement, in the presence of the commissioner of the department, P S Vastrad.
The Lokayukta office took note of the allegation. The matter was scrutinised and the office of Upa Lokayukta Justice S B Majage directed Gopal to be present in the office of the former.
To the surprise of the Lokayukta officials, the director said it was an emotionally -charged statement. “He was asked to file a complaint within three days, but he did not come back to the office. A suo motu case was taken up in the alleged irregularities in works taken up by the department. The FIR does not name any accused. During the investigation we came to know that the department had been granted `100 crore over five years. The department had never received such a huge grant in the past,” a senior police official said.
The police investigation so far has revealed that several bogus bills were raised for a total of 335 works, out of the `20 crore fund. The Lokayukta police are now contemplating of taking the help of Archaeological Survey of India (ASC) in matching actual expenditure with the work bills.
Gopal already faces a disproportionate assets (DA) case. In December 2012, Lokayukta police had raided his house and office for allegedly possessing disproportionate assets. The FIR showed that Gopal possessed up to 129 per cent of disproportionate assets and the police had also seized 1.75 kg of gold from his house.