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Burn-and-run seemed the only way out, and Dasarahalli CMC officials did exactly that: put proof of their `misappropriation' into the fire and deserted their workplace. Which is what greeted the Lok Ayukta raiding team led by N. Venkatachala at the Dasarahalli corporation office on Friday. Missing records, missing officials.
Notwithstanding the smokescreen, the sleuths discovered that around half the budgetary spending, running into crores of rupees, had been pocketed by the officials.
At Byatarayanapura CMC, nervous officials were busy covering their tracks and doctoring evidence. Commissioner Anke Gowda was missing when the raid was on.
The money siphoned off in the two civic bodies is Rs 50 crore.
At the deserted Dasarahalli office, some members of the `burning brigade' returned nonchalantly, pretending they had been out on official rounds. The Lok Ayukta grilled them on the fiery deed, but none blinked an eye. Neither did they assume responsibility for the act.
Scams are now popping up a dime a dozen and Friday's raids unearthed the same: inflated procurement rates, no proper tendering process, false bills for maintenance and repairs.
In Byatrayanpura, misappropriations ran the gamut: Money had been handed over to persons without proper scrutiny, while in some places, signatures were the same for all the persons who had received money; the tendering process had been conveniently ignored; 400 borewells were functioning and 60 had failed but no one knew why; 70 mm of road was said to be asphalted while only 20 mm had been done; some roads were tarred over and over again; sodium vapour lamps were twice as expensive in the account book as in the open market.
The staff's personal assets were a telling pointer. Many had given hand loans and owned properties beyond their declared sources of income. The Lok Ayukta will now find out how many lakhs each of the petty officers are worth.
The men behind the mess in Byatrayanpura are said to be former commissioner Govindaiah and president H. Gowda, who had been suspended. Present Commissioner M.A. Baig is still new here. Govindaiah's relative Murthy, a contractor, had taken up key works and is suspected to have amassed a fortune.
Byatrayanpura council president Srinivas Raju has admitted there could be misappropriation of Rs 10 crore.
In the wake of Wednesday's raids on KR Puram and Mahadevpura CMCs, where a record Rs 100 crore scam was unearthed, rumblings of Lok Ayukta swoops have made officials across the city jittery. Lok Ayukta staff had fanned out to two more CMCs around Bangalore as a preliminary excercise before the real raid. The CMCs of Bommanhalli, Pattangere and Yelahanka were reportedly tense with little work being carried out.
Rumours were thick at Yelahanka CMC of impending raids on Thursday and Friday, but there was no action. Preliminary questioning by officials indicated major misappropriation here too. Sources said the raids will continue at CMCs and TMCs too.


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