K’taka Congress MLA accused of abusing bureaucrat over mining contract

Prime News, State (Bengaluru), October 11:-A top Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer in the Karnataka state secretariat on Tuesday alleged that a legislator of the ruling party “abused and threatened” him for not clearing his son’s application over granting a mining lease.

Rejecting the charges, MLA K Shivamurthy Naik said, “There is Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera. Let people see whether I attacked him.”

Rajender Kumar Kataria, the secretary in the Commerce and Industries Department, said he has briefed Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on the incident and sought protection from the MLA. Kataria said he has also written a letter to the chief secretary Subhash Chandra Khuntia, principal secretary to the chief minister LK Ateeq and IAS Officers’ Association president P Ravikumar.

“After this incident, I met the chief minister and told him that under these circumstances, it will become difficult for me to discharge my duties. I had the option to lodge a police complaint but I avoided it,” he said.

Kataria said it was not possible for him to favour somebody by violating rules. “When the Supreme Court is closely monitoring the mining business in Karnataka, it is not possible to favour anybody,” he said.

In his letter to the chief secretary, the IAS officer said the MLA’s son Suraj had applied for grant of ornamental quarry lease in six acres of land in survey number 78 of Siddeshwaranadurga village, Challakere Taluk in Chitradurga district.

He claimed that the application filed by Naik was “ineligible” as per the rules.

Kataria alleged the MLA tried to “force” him to get the file cleared immediately from the director of mines and geology and approve it immediately. “He also mentioned that he is the government and his orders have to be complied with,” the officer said. “You are my servant and if you do not listen to my orders, you have to face dire consequences in future,” Kataria quoted the MLA as saying.

The IAS officer, in his letter, said, “He has not only abused me before the public, but also stated that I had looted money in this department and I was not willing to do the work of his son overruling the legal position.”

When contacted, Naik refuted the charges of abusing or attacking the officer. He said he heads the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) welfare legislature committee and wanted to meet the officer for the welfare of the underprivileged community.

“I went to meet Kataria to impress upon him that there should be reservation for SC, ST in the mining business. There should be at least 25 per cent reservation for us also,” the MLA said.

When asked about his son Suraj’s application for mining in six acres of land, the MLA said, “Suraj is secondary. It is about us 35 MLAs, 10 MLCs from all the parties and lakhs of people from SC, ST community who have been deprived of our share in the mining business.”

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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