Criminal charges to be filed against 136 engineers for fraud

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Bangalore, Jul 23 (UNI) The Karnataka Government has issued orders to file criminal charges against 136 engineers of Water Resources Department for allegedly defrauding over Rs 84 crore while preparing additional estimates for canal works under Krishna Bhagya Jal Nigam Limited (KBJNL).

Replying to a query from Mr Amatheppa Kandakur of Congress at the State Legislative Council during the Question Hour, Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the Vigilance Wing of the department had found these officers guilty of causing a loss of over Rs 84 crore to the state exchequer by ''recommending'' over 120 works under KBJNL.

The minister said following the Vigilance Wing report, the state government appointed a Special Registrar to go into the fraud and instructed to file a charge sheet against the officials.

Elaborating on the issue, the minister said the the department had also ordered to blacklist those contractors, who colluded with the officers. The department had released Rs 68 crore for the revised bills for the works and had been instructed not to release the balance amount, Mr Bommai said.

Unsatisfied with the reply from the minister, Opposition members, including M C Nanaiah, Basavaraja Horatti (both JD-S), M Nada Gouda of JD(U) and V R Sudarshan, Leader of the Opposition Veeranna Mathikatti and V S Ugrappa (all Congress) demanded immediate suspension of the erring engineers.

After heated arguments over the matter, the Minister assured the House that he would consider referring the issue to the Lok Ayukta besides ordering suspension of the engineers.

UNI MV SV AS1727

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