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'Promotion' is the reward for corruption-tainted!
02 November 2010

Expressing shock at the election of Mr. Govindaraju to the BBMP Standing Committee, Loksatta party Spokesperson Mr. C N Deepak said, "It is frustrating to see a corporator who has been caught red-handed for corruption now being promoted to higher and more lucrative positions. Promotion for the corrupt is only going to promote more corruption."

The corporator from Ganesh Mandir ward, Mr. Govindaraju had, in July, been caught red-handed by the Lokayukta accepting a bribe of Rs.2 lakhs from a builder for 'regularising' illegal construction. In October, the Karnataka High Court stayed his suspension order on grounds that there is no provision for an 'elected representative' to be suspended. Mr. Deepak continued, "The corruption charges are as strong as ever. The stay order is only because as per the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act, there is no provision for 'suspension' of corporators. The KMC provides for 'disqualification' for such mis-doings. But no proceedings for disqualification have yet been initiated by BBMP even 4 months after being caught for corruption". It is an irony that rather than being punished, he is now being rewarded for his mis-doings.

What is more worrying is that his appointment to a Standing Committee is not even a necessity. Not all corporators are appointed to Standing Committees. Loksatta party member Mr. Ajit Phadnis highlighted, "Out of a total of 198 elected corporators, only about 130 are elected to Committees. But even then it was not considered fit to leave him out. This is a reflection of scant respect for the law and lack of willingness to act against corruption."

The surprise is that while Mr. Govindaraju is from the Congress party, none of the other parties represented in the Council have raised an alarm over it, rather have expressed tacit support. It appears that all these parties are supporting each other in protecting the corrupt within them.

The apparent condoning of the corporator attempting to illegally regularise an illegal construction, has left no credibility for effective implementation of a regularisation scheme for building violations. As Mr. Phadnis retorted, "There is no need for a Sakrama-Akrama scheme since illegal regularisation is already happening and will continue. The only difference is that rather than the regularisation money being spent for the welfare of the people, it is now going into private pockets".

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