They had demanded Rs. 14,000 to issue khatas for seven sites at Srirampura Layout
Mysuru: Three employees of the Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA), including a Special Tahsildar, were caught red-handed yesterday by Lokayukta Police when they were allegedly receiving Rs. 14,000 as bribe for issuing Khatas.
The trapped officers are Special Tahsildar, MUDA Office-3, B.K. Srinivas, who was also the in-charge of e-khata, First Division Assistant (FDA) Rangappa and Group-D staff Varalakshmi, who handed over the share of the bribe money to the Tahsildar. All the three were working in the e-khata section of MUDA.
Following a complaint by Karthik Gowda, head of a human rights and anti-corruption institution in Mysuru, the Lokayukta sleuths conducted the operation and trapped the suspects.
Karthik Gowda had submitted applications and documents for getting Khatas for seven sites at Srirampura Layout four months ago. As per SAKALA rules, the MUDA officers were bound to issue Khatas within 21 days of an application being received. Or else they should have mentioned a footnote in the application on why the application has been kept pending or rejected. But the officials at MUDA had reportedly delayed the work and despite Karthik making several rounds of MUDA offices, the work was not done. Last week, Rangappa told Karthik that no work will be done if money is not paid to the officers and allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs. 14,000 for Khatas of 7 sites — Rs. 2,000 for each site.
Karthik later lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta and the MUDA officials were trapped when they were taking the money. Before complaining to the Lokayukta, Karthik tried to negotiate a deal where he offered to pay Rs. 7,000 — Rs. 1,000 each for 7 sites — but Rangappa insisted on Rs. 14,000. He bluntly told Karthik that unless Rs. 14,000 was paid, the file will not be put up.
As per the trap laid by the Lokayukta sleuths, Karthik paid Rs. 14,000 yesterday and signalled to the Lokayukta sleuths who were following him, indicating that the bribe was paid. By then, Rangappa had sent Rs. 10,000 through Varalakshmi to Tahsildar Srinivas as his share of money while Rangappa kept his share of Rs. 4,000.
Observing all these proceedings, the Lokayukta sleuths led by SP Suresh Babu, DySP Krishna and Inspectors Lokesh and Rekha arrested Srinivas, Rangappa and Varalakshmi. Later, the accused were produced before a Judge, who remanded them to 15 days judicial custody.