Meena hostile in BBMP graft case

Senior IAS officer, former BBMP and BDA commissioner, and present principal secretary to the
government in the agriculture department, Bharat Lal Meena, a witness for the prosecution in a case involving two BBMP officials turned hostile during the trial on Monday. Mr Meena stated that he accorded sanction for the prosecution of two BBMP officers under the BBMP Act and the Anti Corruption Act.

In fact, the sanction must be issued under section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The accused in the case are Mr Yathiraj, a tax assessor, and another second division assistant, Mr Anthony Raj. The prosecution case was that the complainant, Mr M. Ravindra, who passed away some time ago, had approached the Lokayukta police in February 2009 stating that Mr Yathiraj demanded Rs 10,000 for putting up an advertisement board, when the official fee was Rs 1,725. He then allegedly scaled down the demand to Rs 8,000.

A trap was laid and Mr Anthony Raj was arrested on February 17 red-handed while accepting the bribe on behalf of Mr Yathiraj. On Monday, Mr Meena appeared before the court to depose as he had accorded sanction for the prosecution of both the accused. However, he persistently stated that he had accorded the sanction for prosecution under the BBMP and Anti Corruption Act.

The Lokayukta special court asked Mr Meena: “What is your understanding of section 7 and section 13 (1) (e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act?” The officer replied that those are the sections under which he accorded sanction of prosecution against the accused. At this stage, special public prosecutor for the Lokayukta police was allowed to cross examine the witness.

When the public prosecutor pointed out that both the sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act were penal sections, Mr Meena stuck to his stand and said they explain penalty. “Every third working day the Lokayukta court receives a case of graft involving BBMP.

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