Karnataka government reinstates ‘tainted’ official, Lokayukta miffed

The government has decided not to appeal in the Supreme Court against the acquittal of Archaeological Conservation Engineer S M Poojari in a disproportionate case by the High Court.

Published: 25th February 2018 04:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2018 04:30 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: In a setback to the Karnataka Lokayukta, the anti-corruption watchdog, the state government has decided not to appeal in the Supreme Court against the acquittal of Archaeological Conservation Engineer S M Poojari in a disproportionate case by the High Court. The government’s decision comes despite the Lokayukta’s suggestion to appeal against the acquittal.Strangely, the government has reinstated Poojari saying that the Lokayukta itself had decided not to file appeal against the High Court ruling dated March 21, 2017.

A source said that the Lokayukta police, on June 1 last year, had recommended to the government to appeal against the acquittal. However, the Home Department, on October 17, rejected the recommendation saying that it is not fit case to file appeal.Following this, Poojari was reinstated with immediate effect with the government passing an order dated January 27, 2018, wherein it was stated that Lokayukta has decided not to appeal, contrary to what the Lokayukta police had recommended. It is the Home Department which decided not to file an appeal and not the Lokayukta, a source in Lokayukta said.

The Principal District and Sessions Court in Mysuru convicted Poojari in a disproportionate assets case on March 28, 2011 and recommended to the government to dismiss him from service. In another case, Upa Lokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi, on July 5, 2013, had recommended to the government to order compulsory retirement of Poojari and a few others for misappropriation of funds.

Archaeological Conservation Engineer post shifted

Poojari filed a criminal appeal in the High Court against the Sessions Court order, which set aside the conviction and acquitted him. The government on February 16, shifted the post of Archaeological Conservation Engineer to the Kannada and Culture Department from the office of the Deputy Director of Archaeology and Museums, Bengaluru. The post was shifted after S M Poojari was reinstated as the Archaeological Conservation Engineer.  Before his dismissal earlier, Poojari was given charge of only Mysuru division out of four revenue divisions -- Bengaluru, Mysuru, Dharwad and Kalaburagi. Now, he had been given Bengaluru division in addition to Mysuru. Shifting of the post is causing difficulty to the Directorate of Archaeology as it has to take care of 800 protected monuments across the state, a source said.


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