BAGALKOT/BENGALURU: Within a week of civil contractor Santosh Patil committing suicide after accusing then Rural Development and Panchayat Raj minister KS Eshwarappa’s associates of demanding a commission to release funds, a Veerashaiva Lingayat seer from North Karnataka accused the state government of demanding a 30 per cent commission to release grants to mutts.
The allegation by the seer, Balehosur Mutt pontiff Dingaleshwara Swami, gave fresh ammo to opposition parties to corner the government on corruption charges, while Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said a thorough probe will be conducted if the seer provides details.
“The government demands a 30 per cent commission to release the grants sanctioned to mutts or temples. Officers not only openly communicate with mutts about the commission, but also make it clear that the work will be carried out only if the commission is given,” the seer told TNIE on Monday.
“It is disappointing that corruption has reached new heights in the state. The MLAs have reached such levels that they decide the commission even before the project is officially announced. It is not just my statement, but that of people too. I will stand by my words,” he said. He first made the allegation while addressing farmers on Sunday during the valedictory ceremony of Sankalp Yatra, organised by Congress veteran SR Patil, at Badagandi village near Bagalkot.
Responding to the charges, Bommai said a thorough probe will be conducted if the Swamiji provides details. “Dingaleshwara Swamiji is a revered seer and it is not enough if he just gives a statement. If he can provide details as to who demanded the commission, to whom it was paid, and all the related details, then I will ensure a thorough probe,” Bommai said.
Govt giving 10% discount to mutts, quips MB Patil
Lashing out at the government, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Campaign Committee chairman and MLA MB Patil said, “The government proudly claims that they have sanctioned grants for the development of mutts, but on the other side they demand 30 per cent commission for every project from mutts.”
Addressing the media at Chikkodi, he said, “The only difference between contractors and mutts is that the government is giving a 10 per cent discount to the mutts, while contractors have to pay a 40 per cent commission. The pontiff is not levelling false allegations against the government. The corruption is at its peak in the state.”