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 KARNATAKA LOKAYUKTA

No. COMPT/UPLOK/BCD-118/2002-03           Multi Storied Building,

                                                                Dr.B.R.Ambedkar Veedhi,

                                                                Bangalore, Dt:9.9.2002

 

REPORT UNDER SEC.12(3) OF THE KARNATAKA LOKAYUKTA ACT, 1984

          Sub:- Suo-Motu investigation made regarding the corrupt activities indulged by the Sub-Registrars and their personnel of the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South, Bangalore.

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          When on 10.5.2002, Lokayukta Police informed Lokayukta of the corrupt activity carried on by the Sub-Registrars and their personnel in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South, situated in BDA Complex, Koramangala, Bangalore, he had to issue a Warrant of Search and Seizure, authorising the Lokayukta Police to effect the needed search and seizure, in his determined effort to make a beginning in ending the corruption, in well entrenched Sub-Registrars' offices by the Sub-Registrars and their personnel.  Investigation done by Lokayukta in pursuance of the said search and seizure effected by the Lokayukta Police, since warrants the giving by him of a Report thereon to the Government under Sec.12(3) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984 (the Act) by delineating the ISSUES, arising for his consideration, his FINDINGS on such issues and his RECOMMENDATIONS thereon, that Report shall contain the following:-

 

2.                                         I S S U E S

(1)  Was the Lokayukta Police, by its Search made on 10.5.2002, in Bangalore South Sub-Registrar's office, pursuant to Search Warrant obtained from Lokayukta, able to find and seize any bribe money from that office or from the persons found in that office?

(2)  Were the bribe money found in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South and the nature of activities carried on in that office, by the Sub-Registrars, their personnel, the volunteers and agents, on 10.5.2002, establish that the Sub-Registrars and their personnel in that office, were not discharging their functions without bribe money received or receivable for such functions.

 

(3)  Could the Sub-Registrars and/or their personnel in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South, or any of them be held liable for not discharging their functions without bribe money received or receivable by them.

 

FINDINGS

3.                 Re-Issue No.1: Issue No.1 being, was the Lokayukta Police, by its Search made on 10.5.2002, in Bangalore South Sub-Registrar's office, pursuant to Search Warrant obtained from Lokayukta, able to find and seize any bribe money from that office or from the persons found in that office shall be considered now.

 

4.                 Ext.C.1 is the Mahazar got drawn by Shri.B.A.Joyappa, Deputy Superintendent of Police, on what all he found and did in Bangalore South Sub-Registrar's office, on 10.5.2002, pursuant to Warrant of Search and Seizure – Ext.C.3, obtained by him from Lokayukta.  Shri. N.Venkatachalapathy, Second Division Assistant of Regional Transport Office in Koramangala and Shri.D.Premakumar, Second Division Assistant in the office of the Asst. Executive Engineer of Bangalore Development Authority in Koramangala who are the witnesses for that Mahazar – Ex.C.3 have spoken to the truth and correctness of the contents of the Mahazar, when examined by Lokayukta on oath as CW.4 and CW.5, respectively. Shri.N.Venkatachalapathy who has spoken to the truth and contents of the Mahazar has signed it at the bottom of each page of that Mahazar, at Ext.C.1(a), Ext.C.1(aa), Ext.C.1(aaa), Ext.C.1(aaaa) and Ext.C.1(aaaaa). CW.5 –Shri.D.Premakumar, another Mahazar witness has signed at the bottom of each page of that Mahazar at Ext.C.1(b), Ext.C.1(bb), Ext.C.1(bbb), Ext.C.1(bbbb) and Ext.C.1(bbbbb), affirming the truth and correctness of that Mahazar .   In the course of their evidence, both of them have stated in unequivocal terms that all the contents of the Mahazar Ext.C.1 are true and correct and the Mahazar was signed by them being present at the time of the drawing up of that mahazar and after a thorough understanding of its contents. They have also stated that they have signed the Search Warrant – Ext.C.3, at Ext.C.3(a) and Ext.C.3(b) respectively, being aware of the purpose for which the Search Warrant had been issued by Lokayukta. 

 

5.                 As could be seen from the Mahazar- Ext.C.1,  a sum of Rs.3,500/- had been found on searching the person of Shri.Nagaraj, and had to be  seized by C.W.3. Deputy Superintendent of Lokayukta Police, since changing versions given by him for possessing that money made him to think that, that sum was bribe money brought or collected for payment in that office.  A sum of Rs.11,300/- found on the person of Shri.Basavaraj, had to be similarly seized as bribe money by the Lokayukta Police, as he also went on changing his version as to the purpose for which it was kept with him.  A sum of Rs.1,400/- found on searching the person of Shri.Srinivas, had to be seized by the Lokayukta Police, as bribe money for similar reason. A sum of Rs.2,500/- found on the person of Shri.Suresh, had to be  seized by the Lokayukta Police, as bribe money since the reasons given for having that money with him was not quite satisfactory.  A sum of Rs.2000/- found on the person of Shri.Vasanth  had to be seized by the Lokayukta Police, as bribe money since no discernable answer was given by him for having that money with him. A sum of Rs.120/- found on the person of Shri.Sridhar, had also to be seized by the Lokayukta Police, since no discernable answer was given by him for having that money with him.

 

6.                 As is seen from the Mahazar, apart from the bribe money found on the persons of Volunteers and agents as many as 108 Bank Notes of different denominations of the total value of Rs.15,550/- was found scattered all over the floor of the office of the Sub-Registrar, the same being the thrown away bribe money by the Sub-Registrars and their personnel, had been seized by the Lokayukta Police, as bribe money, in as much as, none of them made any claim as their legitimate money.  As is also seen from the Mahazar, that Smt. M.L.Kamala, Shri.Gangadharaiah and Sri.B.C.Manjunath, the Sub-Registrars were not able to explain the shortages in the moneys, which should have been collected by them, the same being Rs.5/-, Rs.338/- and Rs.85/- respectively. 

 

7.                 One Shri.Nagaraj, who claims to be an Agent for persons (Real Estate Agents) who had to get their documents regularly registered with the Sub-Registrar’s office, Bangalore South and who had also to get for them Registration copies of the documents  or Encumbrance Certificates from that office on payments of bribe amounts to the Sub-Registrars or their Personnel and who was present at the time of drawing up of the Mahazar – Ext.C.1 got drawn in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South, has on oath spoken to the truth of the contents of the Mahazar Ex.C.1 before the Lokayukta, as CW.2. Indeed, Shri.B.A.Joyappa, Deputy Superintendent of Police who got the Mahazar –Ext.C.1, drawn up has, when examined before Lokayukta as CW.3  spoken to the contents of the Mahazar in its entirety and the Mahazar being prepared in the presence of CW.4, CW.5 and CW.2.

 

8.                 Some of the said monies got from the persons of the Agents and Volunteers, in the Sub-Registrars’ office of Bangalore South, which could not be accounted for by them satisfactorily and the remaining money, comprised of as many as 108 bank notes of different denominations, found in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore south, where the Sub-Registrars and their personnel were working, would clearly establish that all that money must be nothing but, the bribe money, which was either with the Sub-Registrars or their Personnel before the same was thrown away by them or bribe money kept with the agents or volunteers for being given to the Sub-Registrars or their personnel in the office of the Sub-Registrars of Bangalore South except a sum of Rs.3,500/- which was claimed by Shri.Nagaraj, CW.2 as that, which was with him for getting the mortgage deed of one Shri.Halappa, registered.  Hence the finding of the Lokayukta on this Issue has to be in the affirmative and to the effect that Rs.31,070/- found in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South and seized by Lokayukta Police on 10.5.2002, was bribe money, in its entirety.

9.                 Re- Issue No.2:   Issue No.2 being,  were the bribe money found in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South and the nature of activities carried on in that office, by the Sub-Registrars, their personnel, the volunteers and agents, on 10.5.2002, establish that the Sub-Registrars and their personnel in that office, were not discharging their functions without bribe-money, received or receivable for such functions, shall be considered now.

 

10.             Shri. Suresh, who is examined by Lokayukta on oath as CW.1 was a Volunteer working in Bangalore South Sub-Registrars office for the  four years prior to 10.5.2002.  He was one of those Volunteers with whom Rs.2,500/- was found by the Lokayukta Police, on 10th May 2002, and seized by Lokayukta Police as bribe-money while executing the search warrant – Ext.C.3.  According to him, he was a Volunteer engaged by the Sub-Registrars in that office to entertain the Public, who wanted from the Sub-Registars office Encumbrance Certificates, Registration copies and obtaining signatures of Sub-Registrars Smt. Kamalamma, Shri.Gagadharaiah and Shri.Manjunath for such documents.  Further, according to him, if the public wanted the copies to be given on the date they were applied for by the public, they had to give him bribe-money of Rs.400/- to Rs.500/- and if they were ready to receive them a day or two days or three to five days later, the bribe amount payable in to his hands, for the purpose, varied from Rs.500/- to Rs.50/-, depending upon the urgency or otherwise of the persons who wanted to get delivery of such copies.   He has said that all that money to be collected by him was not the money payable by the public to the Government for obtaining the copies applied for by them, implying that all that money was bribe-money.   He has also said that the money that was collected by him was to be distributed among the staff members in that office, where he was working as Volunteer, except a sum of Rs.100/- which he used to give to the person who was taking the Government remittances to the Reserve Bank of India.  He has further said that the amount which he used to collect had to be shared among Smt.Kamalamma, Shri.Gangadharaiah, Shri.Manjunath, Sub-Registrars, Shri.Suresh, FDA, Shri.Ramegowda, SDA, Smt.Shakuntalamma, SDA, Shri.Papashetty, SDA, Shri.Araluramma, SDA.  He has said that on 10.5.2002 at about 3.45 p.m., when Lokayukta Police and other officers came to the Sub-Registrars office, Bangalore South, the officers and other personnel there, threw away the bribe amounts, which was with them, across the office and the same was seized by the Lokayukta Police.  He has not minced words in stating that Shri.Vasanth, Shri.Sridhar, Shri.Srinivas, Shri.Basavaraj, Shri.Nagaraj, and himself were the persons, who had to place the money with them on the tables of the office and it was that money which the Police had seized as bribe-money with them. He explained that the money which he and other Volunteers used to hand over to Shri.Papashetty, SDA and that Papashetty was dividing the money among the volunteers and members of the staff, the higher the grade of the official, higher was the share of bribe amount to be received by him/her.  He refers in his evidence to the documents which were registered by the Sub-Registrars, after they were given to them for registration by the Brokers, Real Estate Agents, Sub-Registrars.  He also tells that bribe money was collected by Sub-Registrars from them at the end of the day, and the Sub-Registrars used to share some part of such money with the FDAs, SDAs and Group 'D' Employees.  According to him, the brokers, who used to pay money for registration of documents were more or less permanent visitors to the Sub-Registrars office.  Further, according to him, these Agents used to come to the office of the Sub-Registrar after 5.30 p.m. when the rush in the office used to come down. He and others, who were working as Volunteers, but were not getting any amount by way of salary, the money left with the volunteers after payment to the Sub-Registrars and their staff members, used to be shared among themselves (Volunteers and Agents).  It is of significance to note that the bribe money seized from him while was Rs.2,500/- he says that he had with him only Rs.1,100/-.

 

11.             Shri.C.Nagaraj, who is examined on oath by Lokayukta as CW.2 is a B.A. degree holder.  He has ultimately settled down to get documents registered from Sub-Registrars office, Bangalore South and get registration copies and Encumbrance Certificates from that office for his principals,  who were acquainted with him, while he was working as an Insurance Agent, earlier.  He says that he was making the parties, whose documents he was getting registered in the Sub-Registrars office, pay the needed bribe money to the Sub-Registrars concerned directly, for, he was asking the Sub-Registrars not to take heavy bribe money from his Principals.  He says that, the people who used to visit the said Sub-Registrars office for getting their documents registered had to pay bribe money.  He further says that he was paying bribe-money for Encumbrance Certificates, to Encumbrance Section Head clerk, who was a Muslim, his name being Shri. Jaffar.  He also says that, when Lokayukta Police entered the Sub-Registrar’s office on 10.5.2002, the Sub-Registrars and members of their staff, when realized that Lokayukta police had entered the office, they threw away the bribe money with them, across the floor of the office and that money in denominal notes was collected and seized by the Lokayukta Police later, as bribe-money.  According to him, collection of bribe money in the Sub-Registrar office, had become a matter of office routine and the officers/personnel were habituated in taking bribe-money.

 

12.             Besides, Shri.N.Venkatachalapathy (CW.4) and Shri.D.Prema-kumar (CW.5), who were taken by Shri. B.A.Joyappa, Dy. Superintendent of Police (CW.3) to become the mahazar witnesses at the time of drawing up of the mahazar, have said in the course of their evidence that before entering the said Sub-Registrars office, when they watched the activities of the Sub-Registrars, their staff members, and movement of volunteers and agents in that office, for some time before entering that office, they found all of them had been engaged in bribe giving and bribe taking activity without any botheration, as if they were carrying on such activity, as of right.

 

13.             Thus, the whole evidence adverted to herein before when is seen, it becomes clear that the bribe money found and seized in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South and the nature of activities carried on in that office by the Sub-Registrars, and their personnel with the aid of the volunteers and agents, present there, clearly establish that the Sub-Registrars, their personnel working in that office, were not discharging their functions without bribe-money received or receivable, for such functions and therefore, the finding on Issue No.2, is in the affirmative.

14.             Re- Issue No.3:  Issue No.3 being, could the Sub-Registrars and/or their personnel in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South, or any of them be held liable for not discharging their functions without bribe money received or receivable by them, shall be considered now.

 

15.             When the evidence, which is adverted to in dealing with Issue No.2, above, is seen it cannot leave any one in doubt that the Sub-Registrars and their personnel in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South had not been discharging their functions without bribe – money received or receivable.  The evidence given by CW.2, CW.3, CW.4 and CW.5 with reference to Exhibits C.1 and C.3 and their oral evidence given on oath before Lokayukta and adverted to in dealing with issues above make it clear, that the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South had been made a den of corruption by the Sub-Registrars and their personnel, who are the following:

(1)   Smt. M.L. Kamala, Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South

(2)   Shri.Gangadharaiah, Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

(3)   Shri.B.C.Manjunath, Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

(4)   Shri. Suresh, FDA, Office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

 

(5)   Shri. Ramegowda, SDA, Office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South

 

(6)   Smt.Shakunthalamma, SDA, Office of the sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

 

(7)   Shri. Papashetty, SDA, Office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

 

(8)   Smt. Araluramma, SDA, Office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

 

(9)   Shri.Jaffar, Head Clerk in Encumbrance Section, Office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

 

(10) Shri. Ramanna, Group ‘D’ employee, Office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South.

 

 

16.             All the Sub-Registrars and their personnel in the office of the Sub-Registrar of Bangalore South who were Government Servants (Public servants) had in the course of discharge of their duties as public servants had abused their positions to obtain gains or favours to themselves; were in the course of discharge of that function actuated by personal interest, improper motive and corrupt motive; were guilty of corruption and lack of integrity in the performance of their functions and had also failed to act in accordance the norms of conduct and integrity which was expected of them, while discharging their functions in different official capacities.

 

17.             Hence the finding on Issue No.3 shall be in affirmative and to the effect that the Sub-Registrars and/or their personnel in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South are liable for not discharging their functions, without bribe money received or receivable by them, apart from being actuated in discharge of their functions by personal interest and improper motive and corrupt motive and not acting in accordance with the norms of conduct and integrity expected of them in discharge of their official functions.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

18.             Under the Act, a public servant including Government servant, when has abused his official position as such public servant to obtain any gain or favour to himself; or to any other persons, is actuated by personal interest or improper or corrupt motive, while discharging his functions as a public servant, or is guilty of corruption or lack of integrity in discharge of his functions as such public servant or has failed to act in accordance with the norms of conduct which ought to be followed by a public servant of the class to which he belongs, such public servant  becomes liable for disciplinary action, as also, becomes liable to vacate the public post or office held by him.  Under Issue No.3, when the Government servants working in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South, namely:-

(1)   Smt. M.L. Kamala, Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South

(2)   Shri.Gangadharaiah, Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

(3)   Shri.B.C.Manjunath, Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

(4)   Shri. Suresh, FDA, Office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

 

(5)   Shri. Ramegowda, SDA, Office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South

 

(6)   Smt.Shakunthalamma, SDA, Office of the sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

 

(7)   Shri. Papashetty, SDA, Office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

 

(8)   Smt. Araluramma, SDA, Office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

 

(9)   Shri.Jaffar, Head Clerk in Encumbrance Section, Office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South,

 

(10) Shri. Ramanna, Group ‘D’ employee, Office of the Sub-Registrar, Bangalore South.

 

 

are found prima facie guilty of the said acts of abuse of power, corruption, gross misconduct, etc,  not only disciplinary action is required to be taken against all of them jointly and severally, but also they have to be made to vacate the offices/posts held by them.  Hence, the Lokayukta recommends to Government (Competent Authority) accordingly.

 

19.     It has to be noted that, if such disciplinary action and other actions have to be taken against the said Government servants, the Government would be required to refer the cases to Lokayukta or Upalokayukta for holding appropriate enquiry, as provided for in Rule 14-A of the Karnataka Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1957.  Hence, appropriate order has to be made immediately by the Government (Competent Authority), in this regard, so that the Government may get rid of corrupt officers and officials, from someof its  Departments, which are notoriously known to be indulging in corruption, and cleanse them for greater public good. 

 

 

 

                                                           (N.VENKATACHALA)

                                                                LOKAYUKTA

 


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