Madikeri: Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister K.S. Eshwarappa and Kodagu District In-Charge Minister V. Somanna have directed the Deputy Commissioner to suspend Kodagu ZP Executive Engineer (EE) Srikantaiah for crediting flood relief funds in a private bank in violation of the Government norms.
The Government had released Rs. 28 crore to the RDPR Department for taking up flood relief works, following which Kodagu DC Annies Kanmani Joy had issued a Rs. 21 crore cheque to the RDPR Department to be credited in a separate bank account.
But ZP EE Srikantaiah opened an account in Kotak Mahindra Bank and credited the Rs. 21 crore cheque in this account. Subsequently, the money was withdrawn from this account for various works and now only Rs. 21 lakh balance remained in the account.
As soon as the matter came to light, the District Authorities conducted a probe, during which Srikantaiah was found guilty of opening an account in a private bank with an ulterior motive and drawing money from it for works, which was in violation of Government norms.
As Srikantaiah was guilty of diverting Government fund to a private bank, ZP CEO Lakshmipriya wrote a letter to the State Chief Secretary on Oct. 9, recommending disciplinary action against Srikantaiah.
According to a Government directive, Natural Disaster Relief Funds must be credited in an exclusive account in a Public Sector Bank. But any credits to be made at a private bank must have Government sanction and the District Administration’s approval. But in this case, Srikantaiah has violated the norms by not getting any approval from either the Finance Department or the District Administration.
ZP CEO Lakshmipriya said that administrative approval is a must for opening an account in a private bank for crediting Flood Relief Funds.
But it has found that Srikantaiah has violated the norm with an ulterior motive. The issue was discussed at a ZP meeting too, during which ZP members had demanded a probe.
Following the demand, she directed the ZP Chief Accounts Officer to conduct a probe. The probe report found Srikantaiah guilty of wrongdoing, following which she had written to the Government recommending action against the errant Executive Engineer Srikantaiah, she said.