The Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj has begun an internal inquiry into the set of road works allegedly completed by Santosh Patil, contractor and BJP leader, who died recently.
A senior officer will conduct an inquiry into the reported works of around ₹4 crore that were allowed to be taken up or completed, allegedly without work orders.
The reason behind this is the allegation that someone had forged a letter purportedly allowing payment for 108 works that were claimed to be done on oral instructions of K.S. Eshwarappa, former RDPR Minister.
The letter was issued by Asha Aihole, former president of the zilla panchayat, requesting the State Government to approve 108 road works and release funds.
The letter, typed on her letterhead, had an appendix of the list of works required to be taken up in Hindalga village.
The letter sent to Bengaluru from Belagavi is dated February 15, 2021. This contains two notes in green ink, on the first and last page.
On the first page, it says work orders will be issued. It is signed and dated March 5, 2021. On the last page, there is a note that says orders issued for approvals. It is dated February 26, 2021.
Officials say this is not a valid document. Approvals for government works are not given this way. They are listed as proposals, and given administrative and financial approvals if there are enough funds. A separate chain of letters ensue to see that the works are approved, carried out, and their funds are released.
The department issued a clarification saying the letter was obviously forged. Officials in Bengaluru have registered a criminal complaint in the Vidhana Soudha police station, against the alleged forgery of the letter.
Ms. Aihole told The Hindu that she had sent the request letter to the Government, but she did not remember if it was approved. She also denied committing forgery. She also maintained that she was not seeking post facto approvals for the works.