ACB CM Siddaramaiah's ploy to rein in MLAs?

Ruling party legislators oppose Siddu's stress on anti-superstition bill.

Bengaluru: While the Opposition is worried that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is out to close down the Lokayukta by launching the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), several Congress legislators fear that Mr Siddaramaiah might ‘misuse’ the ACB and go after them it they rebelled against him in the days to come.

During a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting, the ruling party legislators also opposed the CM’s decision to come out with an anti-superstition bill to prevent practices like — walking on fire or rolling on leftover meals in some temples in the state. Less than 50 per cent of the total legislators were present at the Legislature Party meeting, convened by Mr Siddaramaiah on Wednesday.

Even though the CM spent more than half an hour speaking about the need for the ACB at this juncture and even distributed literature, the CM’s justification did not have much of an impact on most of the legislators, who felt the ACB might be used against them.

“He did not respond appropriately to our apprehensions. This has resulted in a trust deficit between Mr Siddaramaiah and the legislators. Therefore, we are opposing the ACB,” a legislator disclosed.

Ruling party legislators also took Law and Parliamentary affairs minister, T.B. Jayachandra and the CM to task over their repeated remarks about the anti-superstition bill. “Why do you have to speak about people’s beliefs? How does it really help the party’s growth? It is better if the government does not poke its nose in people’s beliefs.”

Though Mr Jayachandra tried justify his stand stating that the ban on the Devadasi system could help the Congress, a legislator countered him saying that was done to help the lowest strata of people in society.

The source added that legislators were also upset with Rural Development and Panchayat Raj minister, H.K. Patil and Energy Minister, D.K. Shivakumar for not being able to fulfill their promises such as ensuring adequate supply of power to IP sets and drinking water to villages.

BDA’s fund transfer caused loss of Rs 205 crore
The Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) has been in the news for all the wrong reasons and this time, it pertains to injudicious transfer of funds.

The Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its report, has indicted the BDA for its unwise transfer of funds through authorised and unauthorised banks to several mutual funds, which caused a loss of nearly Rs 205.85 crore from 1999-2014.

According to the CAG report, BDA finance committee members (FMs) Sandeep Dash, M.N. Sheshappa and B. Ganganna followed a wrong modus operandi, transferring funds to the tune of Rs 3439.64 crore, Rs 531.24 crore and Rs 75.57 crore respectively during their tenure which resulted in a cumulative loss of Rs 205.85 crore in their period. According to the CAG, these members, along with officials of the cash section, Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) and brokers, unauthorisedly routed BDA funds to several mutual funds.

Most of the investments by these three finance panel members were made in open-ended and high risk equity schemes. Equity investments exhibit very sharp volatility and carry high risk to the extent of losing the entire corpus. “The risk is so high that as many as six of the nine mutual funds investments made by these FMs resulted in heavy losses,” the CAG said, indicting the three FMs along with BDA.

The CAG also found it that lack of an investment policy on managing surplus funds in BDA, enabled these three FMs to indulge in rampant rerouting of the public agency’s money, for mutual fund investment from 1999-2014.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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