Accused throws money out of office window to forest area
Madikeri: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) sleuths in Kodagu caught the Executive Engineer (EE) of Panchayat Raj Engineering Division of Kodagu Zilla Panchayat and four others red-handed while they were allegedly accepting bribe from a contractor for sanctioning a work order to carry out rain damage repair works.
The arrested are EE Srikantaiah, Assistant Engineer (AE) Tauseef, Second Division Assistant (SDA) Ramesh, office staff Kavan and middleman Santhosh who negotiated the deal.
The ACB sleuths have seized Rs. 4,10,500 which was in their possession from cars, houses and from the office, said ACB Superintendent of Police Arunamshugiri.
The bribe money per se is Rs. 2.67 lakh and as the raid was on, the accused threw the money collected from the contractor to a nearby forest area through the window. Spotting this, the ACB sleuths have recovered it as well. The officials also conducted a raid on the house of Srikantaiah.
Class 1 Contractor Baddira Nanda from Cherambane had submitted a complaint to the ACB along with the documents. Nanda had applied for the work to repair the damaged four roads and five culverts in Kadagadalu, Badaga Kottur and Bengur under the Bengur Gram Panchayat at an estimated cost of Rs. 23 lakh. He had also applied for the works to construct a solid waste management unit at Stone Hill in Madikeri at a cost of Rs. 28.5 lakh to dispose of waste from Murnad and Madikeri.
As per the Government norms, a work order and an agreement have to be made before the works commence and the file was with the Panchayat Raj Engineering Division.
The official team led by EE Srikantaiah, however, did not clear the work order and the agreement for more than six months and instead asked Nanda to pay a bribe of Rs. 1.92 lakh. AE Tauseef demanded Rs. 75,000 for granting the tender and the work order.
Nanda agreed to pay the bribe and when he went with the money to Srikantaiah, he was asked to pay the money to SDA Ramesh. Tauseef had already taken Rs. 75,000 from Nanda and had paid middleman Santhosh.
Before handing over the money to the accused, contractor Nanda had alerted the ACB sleuths and the accused were caught red-handed.
All the five were found accepting Rs. 2.53 lakh when the ACB carried out the raid and more searches in the office and the car yielded Rs. 1,43,500.
As the money recovered was more than the money mentioned in the complaint, the ACB sleuths raided the house of Srikantaiah near Sudarshan Circle and seized the CCTV cameras, hard disk and the computer.
It may be mentioned here that Srikantaiah was suspended two years ago on the allegations of misuse of funds released under National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF). He has a huge political clout and later he occupied the EE’s post after his suspension was revoked.