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Sunday 9 October 2011

Tainted babus also demand swalpa adjust maadi formula

Tainted babus also demand swalpa adjust maadi formula

Officials, facing probe after being named in the illegal mining report, say if Lokayukta’s wife surrendering her plot is absolution enough, then they returning the bribes they took should absolve them of their crime
Atul Chaturvedi

KGF MLA Y Sampangi (third from right) was arrested on charges of accepting bribe
Groucho Marx had hit the nail on the head: “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.” The Indian moralistic system works on the principle “Keep amassing till you are caught. Till then you are innocent.”

No wonder the Karnataka Lokayukta, Justice Shivaraj V Patil, mired in a land mess, had some leading state politicians backing him up. While both law minister Suresh Kumar and BJP state president K S Eshwarappa said, “Now that he has returned his wife’s site, the controversy should end,” state Congress chief G Parameshwar was heard saying, “a hundred such societies would have flouted such rules.”

Even Justice Patil has taken refuge under excuses — apart from the untenable “I was not aware of the rule” — that he has returned the plot allotted to his wife, and “Eighty-four judges have been given sites in the housing colony for  judicial employees.”

The Lokayukta sounded just like B S Yeddyurappa. When accused of illegally allotting prime land to his family members, the former chief minister had said he had asked his kin to return the sites. In his defence, he had also said, “Most chief ministers before me have done the same thing.”

Against the backdrop of this novel method of washing away one’s impropriety, Bangalore Mirror asked many of the scam-tainted bureaucrats and politicians whether they too would like to opt for the ‘absolution formula’. All said given the option, they would. The politicians, in fact, were bold enough to come on record, but the babus chose to be anonymous.

Government officials, caught by Lokayukta sleuths and other agencies in the act of taking bribe, had the same refrain. “Like the Lokayukta’s wife, we too will return the proceeds of graft. Please drop all cases against us and give us back our jobs.”

A transport department official, who was suspended following a Lokayukta raid on his house a year ago, said, “If those in top positions could reaffirm probity in public life by taking corrective measures for past mistakes, even we should be given the chance to erase the flip side of our past, and be allowed to work without any prejudice.”
The site in the name of Justice Shivraj Patil’s wife, Annapurna, which he says she would surrender
Ditto was the feeling shared by a majority of the 617 officials, whose names figured in the illegal mining scam report, submitted to the state government by the former Lokayukta, Retired Justice Santosh Hegde.

A forest department official, who too has been indicted in the Rs 16,085-crore mining scam, said, “The government is getting ready to initiate action against us on charges of abetting illegal mining. Going by the Lokayukta findings, the total payment made to 600-plus corrupt officials is Rs 2.46 crore. It comes to less than Rs 50,000 per official. We are ready to pay back the bribe amount, along with interest. Will those at the helm of affairs take a decision to condone our behaviour and not initiate any disciplinary action against us?”

The tainted politicians made no bones about what they think of Justice Patil’s defence. KGF MLA Y Sampangi, who was caught by Lokayukta sleuths while accepting bribe at the Legislators Home in January 29, 2009, said, “Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa allotted sites to his sons and when the scam was exposed, the sons surrendered the sites. Now, Lokayukta is saying he will return his wife’s site to the society and come clean. These are the people who point fingers at others, and violate laws themselves. Lokayukta is a judicial body which has to be fair. Instead, the Lokayukta is fixing people and destroying their lives.”

Ganesh Mandir corporator L Govindaraj, who was trapped by Lokayukta sleuths while allegedly accepting a Rs 2 lakh bribe from a contractor on July 16 last year, said, “Apart from former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, I have not seen anyone else who has truly worked for the good cause of fighting corruption. Justice Patil’s decision to surrender his wife’s site will not absolve him of his mistakes. A case against me is pending in the Lokayukta court, and in the backdrop of Justice Patil’s justification, won’t it be prudent to seek permission for an out-of-court settlement with the complainant?”  

A senior KAS officer, whose conferment of IAS was scuttled after Lokayukta sleuths raided his premises and ‘discovered’ assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, said, “When the cops catch a thief, do they set him free after recovering the booty? No cop would do that. In the same way, wrong transactions by people in top positions should also be made crystal clear instead of forgetting everything by giving them a chance to repent.”  

A BBMP assistant engineer, who was accused of accepting Rs 50,000 bribe two years ago, summed it up: “I am small fry when I look at the way things have been unfolding after Bangalore Mirror exposed how Justice Patil himself obtained a site flouting the rules and subsequently announced its surrender.”

When the police catch a thief, do they set him free after recovering the booty?

These are people who point fingers at others, and break rules themselves. The Lokayukta, instead of being fair, is fixing people and destroying their lives
KGF MLA Y Sampangi

The ‘honourable’ practice of returning ‘ill-gotten’ gains

B S Yeddyurappa:  Cornered in a property scam, former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa set the precedence of returning land. His eldest son, Shimoga MP B Y Raghavendra, who already owned a half-acre land in K R Puram, furnished a false affidavit to the BDA stating he owned no property in Bangalore and got a G category site allotted in 2009 at RMV II Stage for a paltry Rs 8 lakh. The KR Puram land Raghavendra bought in 2006, too was embroiled in a denotification scandal. After Bangalore Mirror brought this to light in September 2010, Yeddyurappa, who was the CM then, announced that his son will surrender the site to BDA.

H D Kumaraswamy: Anitha Kumaraswamy, wife of former chief minister and JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy, returned a plot allotted to her by the Vishwabharathi Housing Cooperative Society. Allegations have been levelled against
Kumaraswamy that during his tenure as chief minister, he made a bulk allotment to the society and in return, received a residential plot in the name of his wife. With the case being heard by a special court, the High Court of Karnataka recently granted anticipatory bail to the couple.

Justice Shivaraj V Patil:  Lokayukta Justice Shivaraj V Patil has asked his wife, Annapurna, to return a Nagawara plot, measuring 4,012 sq ft, she was allotted by the Vyalikaval HBCS. The Bangalore Mirror expose brought to light how Justice Patil and his wife flouted the model bye-rules of house building cooperative societies to procure the land in 2006. Earlier, in 1994 Justice Patil procured a 9,600 sq ft site for himself at Allalsandra from the Karnataka State Judicial Department Employees HBCS, despite owning a house in Vasanthnagar since 1985.

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