Karnataka govt launches ACB probe into Sasikala prison bribery charges
Bengaluru: The Karnataka government has ordered an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) inquiry into the allegations made by senior police officer D. Roopa, alleging that jail officials took a bribe of Rs 2 crore to provide special favours to former AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala in prison.
Roopa was the DIG Prisons when she submitted a report alleging corruption on the part of her superior and other officials.
This is the first time that the government has ordered an investigation into the corruption charges related to Sasikala. A committee headed by former IAS officer Vinay Kumar that submitted its report in November had dealt only with administrative irregularities.
Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy told ThePrint that the government has not given a time frame to the ACB, but expects it to deliver a report soon.
“The corruption charges are serious, and need the expertise of an investigating agency such as the ACB. Vinay Kumar’s team is not the competent authority to probe into corruption. It did its job by submitting recommendations on what it thought were irregularities within jail,” Reddy said.
“There will be a fair probe,” he added.
ThePrint has accessed the seven-point document in which the government has ordered an inquiry against two jail officials – Jail Superintendent Krishna Kumar and his deputy Anitha – who were serving at Bengaluru’s central jail at that time.
It has also recommended that the ADGP (Prisons) initiates a CID inquiry into the allegations made by Roopa.
Roopa accused her senior colleagues, including her then superior, H.N. Satyanarayana Rao, to have accepted Rs 2 crore as bribe from Sasikala for preferential treatment. Rao categorically denied the allegations, and called it a witch-hunting exercise.
Roopa submitted a detailed report on her observations of irregularities in prison, along with CCTV footage of Sasikala and her associate Ilavarasi walking freely in and out of jail. An RTI enquiry filed by the officer earlier revealed that the ACB had closed the case last week, stating that there was nothing cognisable in Roopa’s report.
The government order also specified that the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms can conduct an inquiry against Roopa and the now-retired ADGP Prisons Rao to see if they flouted any conduct rules.
Roopa told ThePrint she was open to a DPAR probe. “My report should have been taken as a whistleblower report and acted upon. I based it on the statement of one V.C. Prakash and an inquiry should have been made on that,” she said.
“But now I am happy that the government has initiated this. All I did was expose mal-administration in prisons, but that does not mean criticism of the government. All I have done is followed the All India Services Rules.”
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