Siddaramaiah demands judicial probe into alleged irregularities

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PTI

Bengaluru

Alleging large-scale corruption in COVID management in Karnataka to the tune of at least Rs 2,000 crore, former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday demanded a judicial inquiry by a sitting High Court judge.

The government, however, dismissed the charges saying no irregularities have taken place.

“The total money spent on COVID management is Rs 4,167 crore whereas state Health Minister B Sriramulu says only Rs 324 crore has been spent. Equipment and materials were purchased double or triple the existing cost.

At least Rs 2,000 crore has been pocketed by the ministers and officials,” Siddaramaiah. Who is the leader of opposition in the state assembly, told reporters.

He demanded a judicial inquiry by a sitting judge of the high court.

Releasing some documents to the media to substantiate his allegations, the former chief minister claimed that the health department spent Rs 700 crore—”some of the amount has been spent and some is in the pipeline.”

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (City Corporation) and the urban local bodies spent Rs 200 crore, district administration spent Rs 742 crore under the State Disaster Response Fund, labour department spent Rs 1,000 crore and medical education department Rs 815 crore, Siddaramaiah claimed.

At least Rs 500 crore was spent by the social welfare department, food and civil supplies department, education department, home department and woman and child welfare department, he added.

Siddaramaiah said the health department was given a budgetary allocation of Rs 10,032 crore, which was revised and made Rs 9,689 crore.

“So far Rs 1,527 crore has been released but Rs 1,554 crore was spent in April and  Rs 1768 crore in May.

The total money spent in two months was 3,322 crore whereas the money released was Rs 1,527 crore. So the spending is double the money released,” Siddaramaiah
claimed.

Speaking about ventilators, Siddaramaiah said the Centre purchased 50,000 ventilators from the PM Care funds for Rs four lakh each, Tamil Nadu government purchased 100 transport ventilators for Rs 4.78 lakh each.

The Karnataka government, on the other hand, purchased the first batch of ventilators on March 22 for Rs 5.6 lakh, then the second batch was purchased at a cost of Rs 12.32 lakh the same day.