BENGALURU: As successive droughts took a heavy toll on the cattle wealth of the state and further distressed farmers, a damning report by the Upa Lokayukta, accessed by Express, shows how money meant for cattle shelters and fodder supply was grossly misappropriated.
The probe by Justice Subhash B Adi says funds worth `22 crore meant for goshalas (cattle shelters) and supply of fodder and water for cattle were misused in drought-hit taluks of Tumakuru district,
the political backyard of state Congress chief G Parameshwara and Law Minister T B Jayachandra.
The disclosure comes as an embarrassment to the Siddaramaiah government ahead of state elections next year.
The district was allotted `22 crore as fodder fund in 2016-17. The report says the entire money was misused in various ways —fodder was not provided as per norms, substandard materials were used in construction of the cattle shelters, money was splurged for non-fodder purpose and false bills were produced to cover up siphoning of the money.
The Upa Lokayukta slapped notices on as many as 126 officials, including assistant commissioners, tahsildars, revenue inspectors and officials of animal husbandry department seeking explanation for the misuse of `22 crore.
Sources in Lokayukta said that Justice Adi visited many goshalas across the district, following complaints. Sensing a gross misuse of funds, an enquiry officer was asked to assess the mishandling of funds by the officials. The officer submitted a detailed report to Justice Adi, explaining how funds were siphoned off.