Four municipal staff suspended amidst missing file investigation

District Collector M.S. Diwakar took decisive action by issuing orders to suspend four employees on grounds of providing misleading information to their superiors in connection with the missing file pertaining to the Hospet municipal council on Friday.

In addition to these suspensions, the District Collector has made a formal request to the Director of the Directorate of Municipal Administration to promptly suspend another Municipal Council employee, Office Manager B. Krishnamurthy, citing adherence to Karnataka Civil Service (CCA) rules.

The employees who faced suspension include Wallman and in-charge library subject manager Suresha Babu D.H., second-grade assistant S. Suresh, sanitation master and in-charge draftsman N. Yallappa, and civil labor and in-charge draftsman H. Shankar. It’s worth noting that all of them belong to the C group of employees.

The District Collector communicated these measures in a letter sent to the Director of the Directorate of Municipal Administration on Friday. This action was taken following the Municipal Commissioner’s report on August 22 and 31, as well as a letter received from the Karnataka Defense Forum on August 19.

The Commissioner’s report highlighted that these five staff members, who had been serving in the municipal library for an extended period, initially reported the unavailability of certain demand registers and KMF-24 registers in the library. However, on August 22, they reversed their stance, asserting that all these documents were indeed available. The suspension order was consequently issued after the Commissioner recommended disciplinary action against these employees, citing their provision of incorrect information to superiors and their irresponsibility in carrying out their duties.

In connection with the missing file case, notices were served to ten individuals. Among them, B. Krishnamurthy, N. Yallappa, and H. Shankar disclosed their involvement in the case on personal grounds.

The missing file case emerged six months ago when 49 files were removed from the city council, an incident captured on CCTV involving former minister Anand Singh, his son-in-law Sandeep Singh, current members, former member Venugopal, and several officials and staff members. They disabled the camera and took the files from the office. Suresh Babu DH raised concerns about the non-delivery of these files, prompting a complaint. The Karnataka Defense Forum also received a similar complaint. On August 22, the Commissioner retrieved the files and conducted a public inspection in the presence of the media, acknowledging their disappearance. However, on August 25, he held a press conference to retract his statement, asserting that the files were not missing and citing written information provided by the staff.

District Collector MS Diwakar expressed the possibility of further action, including potential arrests, stating, “Now suspended for giving wrong information to superiors. If it is proved that the file is missing, there is a possibility of arresting the guilty personnel.” He emphasized the significance of the missing file case for the entire state, stating, “Due to the missing file case, the entire state is looking at Hospet. I have asked for a detailed report on whether the file is really missing. The Commissioner has given a report. Based on that, an investigation will be done in the near future. If the file is found to be missing, the culprits are sure to be punished. The staff has been suspended because the seriousness of the case should be known first.”

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