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Probe begins on malpractice

By Our Staff Correspondent

RAICHUR, DEC. 20. A two-member special squad sent by the Accountant General, Bangalore, begun investigation of the alleged malpractice in the Yermarus Irrigation Division near here on Monday.

The squad, headed by Narasimhamurthy, asked the division to submit records and vouchers pertaining to payments and papers related to foodgrains utilised for implementing the Food-for-Work scheme in the last two years.

There were complaints that the division had flouted the Karnataka Transparency Act while implementing the Food-for-Work scheme in connection with the improvement work on a portion of the Tungabhadra Left Bank Canal (TLBC) in the division. The division had effected payments to fictitious contractors and had failed to maintain accounts on the funds and foodgrains allotted to it.

According to sources, the squad after preliminary inspection of accounts expressed satisfaction that the accounts were in order in the Gillesugur sub-division. But it found that the sub-divisions at Kallur and Yermarus had misappropriated Rs. 30 lakhs and the foodgrains released to them. These divisions, the sources quoted the squad as saying, had spent funds without any estimates and technical approvals from the authorities concerned. They had even passed bills of contractors without certified records. There was no proper account on the foodgrains they had utilised.

The squad has asked the division to submit all records and other documents pertaining to the expenditure incurred by the Kallur and Yermarus sub-divisions.

However, the officials concerned have expressed their inability to produce the documents stating that the Kallur Assistant Executive Engineer, Sudharshan, and the Yermarus Assistant Executive Engineer, Paramesh, were not available. Even the Superintending Engineer of the Yermarus Irrigation Circle, Harish, and the Executive Engineer of the Yermarus division, Harihara Shivaprasad Rao, were not in headquarters.

But the squad has warned that it would submit a report to the Accountant General recommending action against the officials concerned.

Mr. Harish told The Hindu over telephone that he was aware of the squad's visit but he was now in Bangalore on official work and he would be able to look into the problems only on his return to headquarters.

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