Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Retired IAS officer arrested in BDA scam

The Hindu dated 27/4/16
The investigation into the multicrore-BDA-mutual fund scam has widened to include a retired IAS officer M.K. Monappa arrested by CID sleuths in connection with the scam on Tuesday.
So far, Sandeep Dash, an Indian Civil Accounts Service officer has been arrested along with two former employees of BDA. A former BDA commissioner was also interrogated in connection with the case last year. However, there is no case made against him.
The probe into the scandal has revealed that the officer had colluded with M.N. Sheshappa, a former member of BDA, and invested Rs. 2.12-crore BDA money in the name of Karnataka State Backward Classes Department Building Construction Society in mutual funds using ante-dated instruments.
Mr. Monappa, probe has now revealed, had diverted funds from the Society and invested in mutual funds. However, when he realised that he had suffered losses due to the investments, probe has now revealed, he colluded with Sheshappa, who was instrumental in running the scam in BDA to make up for the losses, sources said.
Explaining the modes operandi , a CID officer said, Sheshappa prepared a demand draft for Rs. 2.12 crore from BDA that Mr. Monappa used to invest in the mutual fund under the name of Karnataka State Backward Classes Department Building Construction Society. Just two days later, the transaction had been redeemed as a coverup act that probably could have blown the lid off the scam at the society, the officer said. Incidentally, the transaction was done in June 2006, just days after Mr. Monappa was transferred from the post.
CID sleuths probing the case said they are finding out whether Mr. Monappa gave Sheshappa Rs. 2.12 crore in cash, for the DD from BDA.
It is yet to be ascertained whether Sheshappa did receive any cash and whether he refilled that money into the BDA account.
M.K. Monappa had diverted funds from the Society and invested in mutual funds

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

For Now, Lokayukta to Take Up Corruption Cases Under Trial

The New Indian Expree dated 19/4/16
BENGALURU: The state government on Monday informed the High Court that the Lokayukta police wing has been asked to follow-up on 1,640 corruption cases under trial before the Lokayukta Special Courts across the state.
This will continue till the newly constituted Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is fully functional.
The state government also informed the court that around 700 Lokayukta police personnel will not be jobless as observed by the court earlier, as they have been asked to follow-up on pending cases.
Additional Advocate General A S Ponnanna made a submission to this effect before Justice A N Venugopala Gowda, who is reviewing the delay in investigation and trial of corruption cases.
Intervening at this stage, Justice Gowda observed that there is still confusion among the general public about the ACB. People do not know where to lodge a complaint. At Khanija Bhavan there is no system in place to receive complaints, he said.
Ponnanna made this submission based on the decision taken on April 5 by the committee chaired by the Chief Secretary. He also contended that the state government is committed to strengthen the ACB.
Since hearing of two PILs challenging the ACB’s constitution is pending before the
division bench headed by
Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee, Justice Gowda adjourned the proceedings to April 25. The PILs will be heard on Wednesday.
The committee headed by Chief Secretary Arvind Jadhav decided to ask the Lokayukta police to handle pending trial cases as there is stiff resistance to disband the Lokayukta police wing.
Besides, the division bench of the High Court stayed the transfer of corruption cases pending for investigation to the ACB.

Mumbai court issues warrant against Mallya

The Hindu dated 19/4/16

he ED registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to trace the alleged diversion of the Rs. 950 crore loan granted to Kingfisher airline by a bank.

In yet another step to secure the presence of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the Enforcement Directorate on Monday obtained a non-bailable warrant against him from a Special Court here. The Ministry of External Affairs had earlier suspended Mr. Mallya’s passport on the ED’s advice.
Special Judge P.R. Bhavake, hearing a plea by the ED, ordered that the warrant would be issued in a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The businessman, who left the country in the midst of efforts by a consortium of banks to recover dues from Kingfisher Airlines, did not appear before the agency in response to summons on three occasions.
A highly placed source in the ED told The Hindu: “The order copy by the court will be ready and signed on April 19, but because that day is a court holiday, the non-bailable warrant against Mr. Mallya will be issued on April 20.”
Advocate Hiten Venegavkar, representing the ED, said Mr. Mallya was summoned thrice for his statement to be recorded, but he repeatedly failed to appear before the ED. Hence, it was seeking a warrant against him.
ED officials said they would seek a Look Out Circular at all airports and ports in India in Mr. Mallya’s name on the basis of the NBW. Further, the ED would also approach Interpol for issue of a Red Notice against him.
The ED’s case is based on the FIR registered by the CBI against Mr. Mallya and other unknown officials of the Mumbai-based IDBI for causing a loss of Rs. 900 crore to the public sector bank.
The FIR was registered under Sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by a public servant or a banker, merchant or agent, and criminal misconduct by a public servant.
The ED has registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and is probing why the bank gave the loan to the airline, ignoring its own internal report that had allegedly warned against such a step.
Senior counsel Amit Desai, appearing for Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) Limited, moved an application on Monday, debunking the agency’s claims that loan money was used to buy immovable property outside India.
He said these were speculative allegations and could not be a ground for coercive action.
He said the financial audit of the company, carried out in 2009 and 2010, mentioned the quantum and purpose of the loan and added that all allegations made by the ED were false.
KFA’s application said: “No funds disbursed to Kingfisher Airlines Limited by IDBI have been wrongly utilised or utilised for purposes other than legitimate business purposes/expenses of Kingfisher Airlines Limited or have been diverted in any manner by Dr Vijay Mallya for his personal benefit or gain.”
It also said: “On March 29 2016, Kingfisher Airlines Limited furnished to the ED 5 box files giving the details of foreign remittances made by Kingfisher Airlines Limited together with copies of the swift messages…”

BWSSB Babus Guilty of Irregularities

New Indian Express dated 19/4/16
BENGALURU: An inquiry committee set up to probe the irregularities in underground drainage works of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board in Yelahanka has found a chief engineer and 14 other engineers guilty of irregularities and malpractice. The board has lost `35 crore owing to this.
The four-member committee opined that Chief Engineer (Projects) and a section of his team of engineers have carried out numerous violations in the drainage works in three layouts - Attur, Jakkur and Venkatala Agrahara Layouts.
The contracts relate to providing glazed stoneware pipeline for a length of 85.64 km, reinforced cement concrete pipes for 11.45 km and construction of 2,286 manholes. The work was taken up based on the report submitted by the Bengaluru branch of the consultancy firm DHV Netherlands BV Water Technologies.
BWSSB Engineer in-chief S Krishnappa and Executive Engineers S Narahari, B S C Somashekhar and G R Govindaraj were on the panel. The inquiry was by BWSSB after relentless pursuit of the issue by retired chief engineer P J Sundaramurthy. He had even received two threat calls and had complained about this at Hanumanth Nagar Police Station.
Those guilty have violated the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act. As per the Act, for any contract worth over `1 crore a publicised tender notification needs to be called but this was not done, he said.
“The layouts were in an erstwhile green belt area where development activity could not be taken up. There is no authentic communication from the Urban Development Department that the drainage works can be taken up,” he added.
Work order was split to three contractors without the Board’s consent, which is mandatory, he said. The works were shown to be a variation of the Greater Bangalore Water Supply and Sanitation Project work going on in Bommanahalli, which has funding from the World Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency. “By showing that the project cost has exceeded what had been specified in the tender, additional funding can be sought. This is what they did by rushing all processes before March 31, 2015, as the WB has specified their financing would end by then.”
yet to decide on action plan
When asked about the future course of action against the accused who are presently on BWSSB payrolls, a top official said the report will be presented in its upcoming board meeting.
“They will decide on the course of action. It is likely that they may hand over the case to CID, Anti-corruption Bureau or Lokayukta,” he said.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Question Paper Leak: Accused to be Booked Under KCOCA
New Indian Express dated 13/4/16
BENGALURU: The accused who have been arrested by CID officials over the question paper leak case will be booked under the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act (KCOCA) to prevent their getting bail, highly placed sources from CID told Express on Tuesday.
In previous cases when question paper leak was reported, the accused were arrested and booked under Sections 31, 32 of the Karnataka Education Act and IPC section 420 and 381. “When the case is booked under the IPC or the Education Act, the accused can easily get bail,” a source said.
The agenda behind booking under KCOCA is to jail the people behind the leak for one year, by which time the government will bring amendments to the existing Karnataka Education Act where stringent criminal action will be initiated against those who involved.
'It Was a Challenge for Which We Worked Day and Night'
Primary and Secondary Results will be Out After CET
Pu Students Anxious About Entrance Tests  
What is KCOCA
The amended KCOCA in 2009 applies to organised crimes, especially terrorism. Bringing terrorism within its purview with a maximum punishment of death, and giving the police one year to carry out investigation ahead of the filing of a chargesheet.
No Grace Marks for Math
Though there were rumours about a decision to award grace marks for the mathematics paper, the minister denied it by saying, “I have not seen any expert committee report in this regard.”
Passed the Exam: Rathnakar
A visibly relieved Kimmane Rathnakar told the media on Tuesday that he had passed the examination with cent per cent marks.
The minister said the government was thinking of restructuring the format surrounding the conduct of PUC exams, by sending questions papers to the centres online along the lines of Visveshvaraya Technological University (VTU).
Rathnakar also reiterated the possibility that the question paper could have been leaked from the main treasury office.
Rumours on Social Media
During the wee hours of Saturday, many students received hand-written question papers on social messaging platforms on their phones.
This fuelled the rumours of the paper having leaked yet again. “Even about an hour before we entered the examination centre for the re-exam, students were talking about the paper they received on WhatsApp.However, fortunately it was different from the question paper that we received on Tuesday,” a student said.
Law Will Put Onus on PU Director
Next year on, if there is any question paper leak in the PU II annual examination, the PU Department Director will be held responsible.
The department is bringing amendments to the existing Karnataka Education Act to make the law more stringent. Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Rathnakar told reporters, “It is the director who will be held responsible from next year for examination malpractices like question paper leaks. We are amending the Act in this regard.”
The minister said that since the director is the person authorised to give print orders and framing of question papers, he or she should be held responsible in case of leak. He said the fiasco this year has been a big lesson for him. “Many advised me not to make it a big issue. But I have decided to remove this from the grassroots.”
“We have suspended 40 staff members from the exam section. Some of them might even be innocent. There were a few who were suspended a day before their retirement,” Rathnakar said.

From Fishermen to Judges: how Adani bought a hassle-free ride
Bangalore Mirror dated 13/4/16
SIT investigating scores of officers after details emerge of huge amounts paid for iron ore export

On March 8, 2008 an e-mail attachment with the subject line "cash a/c" was sent from the accounts section of Adani Enterprises Limited at Belekere port to the company head office. The e-mail triggered one of the biggest investigations ever carried out by the Lokayukta's Special Investigation Team (SIT), formed specifically to handle illegal mining cases.

The mail detailed the huge amounts paid to officers from various departments -- payments unaccounted for, made on behalf of the company that did not feature on any official balance sheet. It would mark the starting point of a tortuous 'bribery' trail that left no hallway of power uncharted.

Under SIT's scanner are over 500 officials, ranging from SPs to MLAs and includes MPs, judges; even traffic cops and hawaldars had a share of the pie. All this is mentioned in the e-mail and it is alleged they were paid to "facilitate smooth business".

Now senior officers and those in public service are braced to answer some tough questions as the investigation gathers steam.

"It is a huge task. The list spans a period of four years and each and every designation mentioned in the mail has to be checked, notices issued to those on the list who will also have to be summoned so their statements can be recorded. The person who sent the mail has quit and he too needs to be tracked down,'' a senior police official, part of the investigating team explained to BM.

During the four-year period -- 2004 to 2008 -- payments ranged from Rs500 to Rs2 lakh, depending on the designation, were made. While the police outpost regularly received Rs1,000, an obscure traffic control mentioned in the list got Rs500. An unnamed judge got Rs50,000. In the police department, according to the entries, right from the constable to the top man in charge of the district, everyone was paid on almost a monthly basis.

The area MLA and MP were also allegedly well looked-after. The entries show that in December 2005, the MLA was paid Rs1 lakh. Similarly, in October and November 2006, there is an entry of Rs2.5 lakh and Rs3 lakh. In November 2006, the MP was given Rs2 lakh and in October 2007, another Rs2 lakh as an IOU.

The genesis of this case goes back to the golden mining days in Bellary belt -- 2003-04 onwards. The authorities smelt a rat as mining exports soared and mining firms owned by influential politicians including G Janardhana Reddy made hay.

The Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee's interim report in April 2011 estimated that between 2003 and 2010, in the Bellary region alone, Rs15,245 crore worth of iron ore was illegally exported. Subsequently, in July 2011, an inquiry report by the Lokayukta put the total loss to state coffers at Rs16,085 crore.

Adani Enterprises, one of Adani Group's flagship companies, was one among the four stevedores that was leased a certain area within Belekere port for providing facilities like jetties, barges, shelter, roads and other amenities to facilitate the export of iron ore and undertake the loading of cargo on to ships. As a stevedore, the company was expected to maintain a record of data and accounts and ensure that all transactions conformed to the Karnataka Ports Rules and other related regulations.

In February 2010, working on a tip off that illegally-mined iron ore was being exported through Belekere port, the Lokayukta raided the port and seized various documents including digital records belonging to Adani Enterprises.

From the digital data recovered, a file was retrieved with an e-mail attachment named "cash a/c" which gave out information on the alleged bribes paid to officials. "It is alleged that these payments were made to various public servants on behalf of the company, to facilitate smooth business in return for hassle-free business in the port. In the process, the officers committed criminal misconduct by receiving the bribes,'' says the FIR filed in the case by former SP of SIT H S Revanna in December 2014.

The SIT presided over 68 mining cases in the early part of 2014 of which 40 have been closed and 16 chargesheeted, including some high profile ones involving politicians and well-known mining barons.

"While in most cases only the designation of the concerned public servant was mentioned, in a few instances names of public servants were mentioned. It is revealed that the company conspired with various public servants belonging to departments like ports, customs, police, mines and geology, weights and measures, KSPCB, revenue, PWD or their offices; and also included MLAs, MPs and judges and paid huge bribes to them amounting to Rs2.65 crore in the four years in return for official favours,'' says the SIT FIR.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Cottonpet headmaster who brought the PU dept to its knees

Bangalore Mirror dated April 7 2016
Afew days ago the name Shivakumar Swamy would have rung bells in only a few closeted circles. But then a PU II Chemistry question paper was leaked - not once, but twice for crying out loud - and Shivakumar became a household name; to be whispered in the presence of harried students and shrill teachers on protest. You see, Shivakumar was the mastermind behind the leak, the Lex Luthor of education scams. And he's still out the shadows, hunted by the CID.

The 65-year-old's rise to the pinnacle of infamy, or at least near enough to the summit to warrant closer inspection, started in the rather prosaic surroundings of Cottonpet, where he cut his teeth in the education sector as headmaster in a government school. By the age of 55, Shivakumar decided it was time to turn his attention to more energetic endavours than moulding young minds and opted for voluntary retirement.

They say most people do the things they've always wanted to do after retiring; if that's the case then he must have really wanted to scam a state, because that's exactly what he did. Shivakumar set about weaving an intricate web of insiders, contacts, fixers, transporters and bureaucrats that would do his bidding as he launched what is arguably the biggest education scam to ever hit Karnataka.

But first he needed an idea, one so ballsy it would make Danny Ocean look like a two-bit hoodlum. Shivakumar realised that he needed to bait prospective customers with a lucrative package, and devised one that would realise parents' dreams and children's ambitions.

He offered 'clients' the whole shebang: He promised them the PU II question paper, which would ensure that the student scored high and got a leg up in the CET exams (whose rankings, in which your PU marks account for 60%, determine the prestige of the professional college one gets in to). He would then tie-up with top colleges in the state to ensure that the wards of his clients got admission (for a phenomenal mark-up of course, an amount anywhere between Rs 15 to 40 lakh). This was done using his network of contacts that trampled through the corridors of power on a daily basis.

He then roped in his nephew, Kiran Kumar, and his son, Dinesh Kumar S (more on his neverending quest for a medical degree later), to help him put the wheels in motion. The trio organised a group of physical education (PE) teachers from across the state, who would essentially be the acquirers of the question papers. Why PE teachers you ask? Because following Shivakumar's logic, they were too intellectually feeble to comprehend the science papers they were leaking. The actual dissemination would be carried out by a cartel of private tutors and agents.

But it hasn't always gone according to plan for Shivakumar. Since 2008 he has been arrested at least five times in connection with leaked question papers, but has never cooled his heels in jail for an extended period.

"He was arrested in 2008 in connection with the leak of a 10th standard question paper, and in 2009 again he was caught by the City Crime Branch [CCB] when he and his team were preparing 30 students for the next day's 12th Physics exam with the actual question paper.

"In 2011 his farmhouse near Tumakuru was raided and he was arrested again by the CCB and Tumakuru police when he oversaw the leak of a 12th standard question paper. He was arrested again in 2013 and 2014 and was jailed for six months. He was also named as one of the accused in the 2012 paper leak scam, alongside a slew of bureaucrats," a police officer closely involved in the current investigation told BM on condition of anonymity.

But is it really that easy to steal, copy, and then leak a board exam paper that is shrouded with multiple layers of security?

"Look, the PU board hires vehicles to take the question papers from the printers to various strong rooms across the state. Shivakumar owns around 20 vehicles used for this job. His vehicles and drivers would transport the papers, along with a PE teacher whose job was to use a broom stick to circumvent the security seals and remove the
question paper en route to the room.

"In case that didn't work, Shivakumar would then use his contacts in the strong rooms, mainly in North Karnataka, to steal the paper from within that sanctum santorum.

This was done days before the exam, and then copies of the paper were passed on to an array of tutors and agents who would then bestow it on the moneyed masses," the officer said.

  • Shivkumar has always made sure to keep senior bureaucrats and members of the IPS and IAS onside, and close. It is reported that before his arrest by the CCB in 2013, Shivakumar bought an IGP a watch worth Rs1.5 lakh as a gift: A gift that would serve as a ticking reminder that a favour was owed.

    In one incident of extreme blase in 2013, an SP paid Shivakumar for a question paper for his daughter. Shivakumar, who excels in serving above and beyond the call, not only delivered the paper but also made sure that a teacher sat up all night with the SP's daughter in a hotel room tutoring her on the questions in the leaked paper.

    Now far removed from his humble roots in Cottonpet, Shivakumar leads a life of luxury dividing his time between his flat in Nandini Layout and a farmhouse in Tumakuru, which he reportedly commutes to and from in one of his five high-end cars. The grapevine is also aquiver with salacious rumours that Shivakumar has an eye for the ladies and has been seen around town with five different 'girlfriends' on his arm. His first wife passed away, and he has since remarried.

    His son Dinesh, who plays a pivotal role in his father's grand scheme, however, is less of a shining light and more of sputtering ember. Being his father's son, Dinesh sat for his 12th standard exams in 2001, armed in advance with question papers. Needless to say Dinesh score 94 per cent and landed a medical seat at Siddhartha Medical College in Tumakuru. Of course, once in, he was more at sea than Blackbeard and spent the next 11 years trying to complete his MMBS degree, which should be done in five. Eventually realising that it's pointless to flog a dead horse, or in this case a medical degree, Dinesh dropped out and joined the 'family business'.

    Now, as the state government and the PU board scurries around trying to douse the flames of dissent coming from all quarters, Shivakumar is probably sitting somewhere biding his time. After all, he's been here before, and he's always been around after the fallout has receded. He's counting on history repeating itself. This time, however, the leak could turn into a flood that may just carry him away with it.

    Packaging futures

    Shivakumar runs his own 12th tuition classes and organises a session a day before the exam. He charges Rs 50,000 per student and calls in lecturers to help the students pull an all-nighter and prepare to answer the questions on the leaked paper. Then he takes the students to their respective exam centres where lo and behold it's the very same question paper they crammed the night before. Once they've aced the exam, he lands them a seat in a reputed college, for a huge fee of course.

Disclose assets, SC tells Mallya

The Hindu dated 8/4/2016
The banks’ outright rejection of the offers by Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya to partially repay the carrier’s debts led the Supreme Court on Thursday to order him to disclose under oath assets existing in his name and those of his wife and children as on March 31, 2016. A Bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman gave Mr. Mallya time till April 21 to file the affidavit, which should include a complete list of all their properties both in India and abroad.
The court asked Mr. Mallya’s lawyers to get instructions and indicate when the businessman would be present in court. The Bench agreed with the banks that Mr. Mallya’s presence was “necessary” for any meaningful negotiations to start. It also agreed that he should pay in advance a “substantial amount” of his dues, estimated to be over Rs. 9,000 crore, to prove his bona fide.
‘His presence in court is necessary for any meaningful negotiation’

Banks delay prosecution sanction: CVC

Hindu dated 8/4/2016
Despite a nationwide uproar over the gigantic size of non-performing assets (NPAs) and many loan defaults, the public sector banks have violated the Supreme Court guideline to give prosecution sanction within four months to proceed against officers accused of criminal conspiracy to cheat them.
In at least 16 cases public sector banks have delayed permission, the CVC said.

Transfer of graft cases from Lokayukta police to ACB stayed

Hindu dated 8/4/2016

In a setback to the government, the Karnataka High Court on Thursday stayed the transfer of corruption cases — which were being probed by the Lokayukta police wing and pending prosecution after completion of probe — to the newly formed Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Also, the court said that any action on corruption cases taken by the ACB in the meanwhile would be subject to the final result of a PIL petition, which has questioned the legality of the government’s notification of March 14 in setting up the ACB and transferring all the pending corruption cases from the Lokayukta police wing to the ACB.
A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice Ravi Malimath, passed the interim order following a preliminary hearing on the petition filed by Chidananda Urs B.G, a city-based advocate.
Though the Bench initially adjourned further hearing till June second week, it agreed to hear further arguments on April 12 after Advocate-General, who earlier requested the court not to pass interim order, requested the Bench for an early further hearing so that the State could defend its action of forming the ACB.