BENGALURU: In a marathon inquiry session, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) grilled Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) Commissioner T Sham Bhat in connection with the Lokayukta scam.
According to sources, Sham Bhat, a senior IAS officer, was among many bureaucrats being quizzed by the SIT. Over the past few days, 180 people were questioned by SIT. A majority of them were bureaucrats.
At the SIT’s office, Bhat’s statement was recorded in connection with the complaint filed by P N Krishna Murthy, with regards to the khata of the land he purchased in Koramangala in 2008, sources said.
According to Murthy, a tout and a prime accused in the Lokayukta scam, V Bhaskar, had offered to get his khata done for Rs 20 lakh, at price lower than that demanded by Ashwin Rao, the son of Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao.
Ashwin had demanded Rs 80 lakh for this. Bhaskar is part of Ashwin’s network.
Murthy came in contact with one Sadique at the Lokayukta’s office in September 2014, when he went there to file a complaint.
The SIT is also looking into allegations that a report submitted against Bhat was modified to save him from disciplinary action for dereliction of duty in November 2014. This was done after Ashwin allegedly made calls to Bhat between November 2014 and May 2015 as per phone call records.
Deriliction of Duty Case Against Bhat
According to sources in the Lokayukta, Justice Rao had submitted a report to the state government against Bhat, then Chief Executive Officer of Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) and three others for dereliction of duty. Bhat and the others were found guilty of not taking action against the owner of a site allotted by KIADB.
This site was allotted for a food processing plant, but the owner had allegedly constructed a five-storeyed building and was running a bar and lodge at the site.
A complaint was filed with Bhat against the site owner for violation of KIADB rules. But Bhat did not take any action against the site owner, except issuing him a notice.
Name ‘Dropped’ From Complaint
It was when a woman filed a complaint with the Lokayukta about Sham Bhat’s negligence in the site owner’s case that the assistant registrar submitted a report to Justice Bhaskar Rao recommending disciplinary action against Bhat and three others. When the report was sent to the government for further action, Bhat’s name was dropped from it. The reason cited was that the fault lay with the three ground-level officials. A senior officer in the Lokayukta said the report was changed after it was found that there was no truth in the allegations against Bhat. The BDA commissioner was not available for comments.