BENGALURU: Income-Tax officials unearthing Rs 152 crore wealth during the raid on residences of Chikkarayappa, Managing Director of Cauvery Neeravari Nigama Limited, and K C Jayachandra, Chief Project Officer of the State Highway Development Project, has sent shivers down the state bureaucracy. The corridors of power in the state are now abuzz with apprehensions of impending raids on all the ‘tainted’ officials against whom successive governments have shown reluctance to give prosecution sanction.
Bowing to pressure from the opposition, the Siddaramaiah government suspended Chikkarayappa and Jayachandra. But the tainted officials could not have flourished without political patronage, allege former chief ministers H D Kumaraswamy and Jagadish Shettar.
According to secretariat sources, there are more than 230 tainted officers and engineers against whom request for prosecution sanction orders (PSO) by the Lokayukta and other agencies have been kept pending by successive governments since 2007.
“Many IAS, IPS officers and chief engineers are among this list of shame,” a source said.
PWD and Water Resources Departments take the cake in this list of shame. Speaking to Express, a senior official of PWD said, “Prosecution sanction against five chief engineers in our own department is pending for years after Lokayukta raids on their residences had exposed disproportionate assets. That explains the politician-bureaucrat nexus in perpetuating the percentage-commission culture in awarding tenders for big projects.”
PWD and Water Resources Departments are considered the most precious cash cows by any government and it is no surprise that Chikkarayappa and Jayachandra belong to the same departments.
Lokayukta police had raided Jayachandra’s house in 2008 when he was the chief engineer at the Hemavathi Irrigation project and exposed disproportionate assets of over Rs 2 crore. But successive governments ignored the repeated requests for prosecution sanction.
Expressing concern at the politician-bureaucrat nexus, former Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde said, “It is shocking to see the successive governments not bothering to accord prosecution sanction against officials from whom huge assets disproportionate to their known sources of income were seized during Lokayukta raids.”
Hegde hopes that the I-T sleuths will continue the drive and come calling at the doors of these “tainted officials who have enjoyed the patronage of successive governments”.