HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Thursday lashed out at Principal Secretary (Finance) K Ramakrishna Rao and Principal Secretary (Transport, Roads and Buildings) and TSRTC in-charge managing director Sunil Sharma for filing “vague and contradictory” affidavits under oath. These affidavits pertained to the dues payable to the TSRTC.
“The court can deal with bureaucrats with perjury for placing fudged financial figures. How can they hide the truth from the court? I am amazed that officials have filed false affidavits before the court. Whom can I believe? In my 15 years of service, I have never seen the court being taken for a ride,” Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan remarked in a hearing that lasted more than three hours. Pursuant to an earlier direction of the court, Ramakrishna Rao, Sunil Sharma, Chief Secretary SK Joshi, and GHMC commissioner Lokesh Kumar appeared to explain financial aspects of the TSRTC.
After perusing the affidavits filed by these officials, the bench asked the chief secretary what the finance secretary and in-charge MD’s intentions were in presenting fudged financial figures. They also gave a different figure to the transport minister, who, believing the same, told the state Legislative Assembly that the TSRTC can wriggle out of debt if it received its dues of about Rs 2,200 crore from the GHMC and state government, the bench observed, and asked, “How can two contradictory statements be made under oath?”
When Ramakrishna Rao apologised, the bench responded saying an apology was not an answer. Sunil Sharma himself admitted, in his affidavit, that he misled his own minister, the court pointed out. Different figures were given in respect of reimbursement concession money the GHMC and the government owe the corporation i.e. Rs 1,790 crore in the first affidavit, Rs 1,187 crore in the second affidavit, and Rs 1,492 crore, as communicated to the transport minister.
Besides, the government claimed in court that it paid the TSRTC over and above what it ought to have, but did not submit any concrete document to substantiate its claim.
As for the TSRTC’s motor vehicle tax dues, the government earlier said they were cleared, but now claim outstanding dues of Rs 540 crore, the bench said.
It then pulled up Sunil Sharma for briefing the transport minister with wrong figures.
The officer misled not only the minister, but the government and the people of the State as well, the court pointed out, adding that the affidavits filed were most illogical.
When the officer (Sharma) could mislead his boss (minister), how can the court believe that he will not mislead the court? The court can deal with the bureaucrats with perjury for filing false affidavits under oath, but chose not to do so because the court wants to solve the prevailing pitiable and pathetic situation harmoniously, the bench told the chief secretary.
It added that it expects the government to tell the truth and come clean regarding the dues payable to the TSRTC. The bench dispensed with the appearance of the above officials before the court in the next hearing.
Ponnam questions Centre’s silence
Karimnagar: The TPCC working president Ponnam Prabhakar asked the Central government why it was not getting involved, even though it has a 30 per cent share in the TSRTC. The Centre should try and protect the 49,000 RTC staff future, he said. On Thursday, the Congress leader questioned that when BJP MP Bandi Sanjay can move a privilege motion in the Parliament over the alleged police attack against him, why cannot he move one on RTC issues as well
IMA gives consultation to workers, families
Warangal: AS the RTC strike entered Day 34 on Thursday, support poured in from multiple quarters of Warangal for the protesting employees. The Warangal branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) extended its solidarity to the cause and declared that they would provide free medical consultation to the striking employees. The IMA, Warangal president Dr Nalla Surender Reddy, said, “Since the RTC employees have not received their salaries for two months, their families must be in financial stress.”
‘CM should apologise for distorting facts’
Hyderabad: The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka on Thursday demanded that the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao apologise to the High Court for furnishing distorted and falsified information through his officials on TSRTC and the dues that the government owes to it. Speaking to media persons here, the Congress leader recalled him stating in the past that the TSRTC was misleading the transport minister in the Assembly which the HC also said on Thursday
TSRTC bus mechanic attempts suicide
Hyderabad: A 35-year-old mechanic from Ranigunj depot 1 attempted suicide by consuming pesticide. The incident occurred early in the morning and his family members rushed him to a hospital at Suchitra. The mechanic identified as Shaikh Baba has seven years of service with the RTC. According to his colleagues, he had been receiving calls from a bank where he had taken loans to pay the EMI. Confused about what to do, he decided to consume pesticide pills. He is presently out of danger
Give us 90 minutes to resolve this: RTC JAC
Hyderabad: The TSRTC JAC convenor E Ashwathama Reddy stated that court was supporting their stand and encouraging government to talk to them. Raji Reddy, another JAC leader said, “It is high time the government initiates talks. I request the government to not hold talks for hours behind closed doors. Instead, they should give JAC 90 minutes to bring this issue to an end.” The JAC leaders said they would hold a chalo Tankbund event on November 9, on lines of Million March to showcase their unity for the cause
Police block rally held in support of staff
Hyderabad: Protests continued to grip the city as several political parties and rights’ activists attempted to take out a rally in the city in support of 50,000 TSRTC workers. However, even before the rally could materialise, they were detained by the police. The protestors raised slogans against the high-handedness of the CM on the TSRTC issue and demanded the government to hold talks urgently. The strike was joined by political JAC leader professor Kodandaram of Telangana Jana Samithi party at SVK Bhavan. He urged the government to hold talks instead of blaming employees