BJP leader NR Ramesh files writ petition against Chief Engineer BS Prahallad on various issues, while Prahallad gets BBMP Commissioner’s nod to file police complaint against Ramesh
There has for long been an adversarial relationship between elected corporators and officials of Bengaluru’s civic agency. But in a recent instance, things have come to such a pass that BJP’s South Bengaluru district president and former corporator NR Ramesh approached the High Court against BBMP Chief Engineer (Road Infrastructure and Storm Water Drains) BS Prahallad, while Prahallad has obtained the nod from the BBMP Commissioner to file a police complaint against Ramesh.
As per the former corporator, he had filed many complaints earlier against Prahallad with senior bureaucrats as well as with Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, but no concrete action has yet been taken. Subsequently, Ramesh decided to take the legal route by filing a writ petition (No. 15780/2020) in the High Court. The next hearing in the case is on February 8.
For his part, Prahallad sought and obtained permission from his department head, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad, to file a police complaint against Ramesh for ‘obstructing’ him in his duties as a BBMP engineer. Interestingly, permission to Prahallad was given on December 21, 2020, the same day that Ramesh filed his petition in the HC.
The permission issued by BBMP’s Deputy Commissioner (Admin) allowed Prahallad to file a complaint against Ramesh in the Halasuru Gate police station on charges of disruption in the discharge of government duties, criminal intimidation, mental assault and intent to dishonour a person. The nod also clarified that BBMP does not have any stake in the matter as it is a personal issue of the engineer, and whatever expenditure is incurred has to be borne by the engineer.
TheBengaluruLive sought a reaction from Prahallad but he refused to comment on the issue. When contacted, Ramesh said he had filed several complaints against Prahallad for irregularities in projects. He added that he had no personal axe to grind and that he had not met Prahallad in the last six years.
Ramesh said Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had ordered an enquiry in several cases while complaints had also been filed with the Anti-Corruption Bureau alleging that Prahallad, as Chief Engineer (SWD), had misused tax-payers’ money by creating fabricated and inflated bills pertaining to the work of desilting drains
Another allegation against Prahallad is that as Chief Engineer of the BBMP Traffic Engineering Cell, he along with others had mismanaged funds to the tune of Rs 119 crore during 2016-17 and 2017-18 pertaining to works like lane marking, median marking, painting speed-breakers, creation of U-turns and free left turns.
Chief Secretary made respondent
Ramesh’s December 21 writ petition has made, along with Prahallad, the Chief Secretary, the Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development Department, the BBMP Commissioner and the BBMP Deputy Commissioner (Administration) respondents. Inter alia, Ramesh has also challenged the promotion order of Prahallad (No. B12(6) PR/152/02-03/2018-19 and B12(6)PR/31/20-21 promoting the Chief Engineer and bearing No. NAE 174 MNU 2020, passed by the Addl Chief Secretary to Department of Urban Development).
The matter was last heard on January 4 by a bench of Chief Justice AS Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum, and the next hearing is on February 8.
During the hearing on January 4, counsel for Ramesh sought time to satisfy the court on the issue of maintainability after going through a decision of the Apex court in the case of Hari Bansh Lal Vs Sahodar Prasad Mahto and Others.
“By keeping open the issue of maintainability, we issue notice to the respondents returnable on 8th February, 2021. The learned Additional Government Advocate takes notice for the first and second respondents. Liberty is granted to serve notice on the standing counsel for Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike,” the HC said.
The HC had added, “Time of three weeks is granted to make payment of deficit court fee. If compliance is not made within the time stipulated, the petition shall stand dismissed for non-prosecution without further reference to the court. The rest of the office objections are dispensed with for the time being except the objection regarding filing a copy of the I.A.”
Ramesh was a BBMP corporator from 2010 to 2015, winning on a BJP ticket, and was also floor leader in the Council during 2015. Later, his wife Poornima won on a BJP ticket from the same ward – Yediyur — and was corporator from August 2015 to September 2020.