Govt suspends 26 engineers in Rs 34-crore irrigation scam


Bengalore: In another huge embarrassment to the Congress government which is celebrating its third anniversary in office on Friday, it has had to order a third Criminal Investigation Department (CID) probe within a span of 45 days.

On May 7, the government ordered an investigation into an alleged Rs. 190-crore scam in installation of water-testing laboratories and purchase of water-testing equipment. Earlier, the government had ordered a CID probe into the II pre-university chemistry question paper leakage.

Shivaraj TangadagiThe latest is a probe ordered on Thursday into alleged siphoning of funds in a series of minor irrigation works. The latest probe comes at the end of the Chief Minister’s third, possibly the most controversial, year in office. On Thursday, minor irrigation minister Shivaraj Tangadagi told reporters he has suspended 26 engineers suspected to be involved in the Rs 34.35-crore scam in the development of minor irrigation tanks in Koppal and Kushtagi taluks, and will be soon writing to the CM, seeking a CID inquiry into it. He said the officials were suspended after he found violations in the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act in awarding 47 contracts.
Sources said the suspended officials have been charged with producing fake bills for dredging tanks. These employees allegedly produced the bills to claim money without executing work, sources said. While 17 employees belonged to the minor irrigation department, the others were on deputation from other departments.
Kumaraswamy alleged. “The projects have been handed over to contractors at 10 to 15 per cent higher than the permissible limits ,” he alleged. Kumarswamy said the Congress government has received Rs 50 crore kickback from a senior BDA official to appoint him as the next chairperson of the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC). Kumaraswamy also alleged the government has denotified more than 500 acres of land in Bengaluru.