Bureaucrat in Karnataka siphons Rs 25.50 L temple money, arrested

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Karnataka police have arrested an Assistant Commissioner attached to the Religious Endowment department on charges of misusing Rs 25.50 lakh fund belonging to temples which come under Muzrai ministry in the limits of Bengaluru, police said on Friday.

V. Venkarataramana Guruprasad was arrested by the Vidhana Soudha police in Bengaluru. The illegality came to light during the auditing of last year’s Karaga festival. Bengaluru Urban district Tehsildar S.R. Arvind Babu had lodged a complaint in this regard.

The accused Venkataramana, being an Assistant Commissioner, monitored all temples which come under Muzrai department in Bengaluru. The police explained that he had withdrawn Rs 25.50 lakh from the savings account of the Muzrai department from the Karnataka Bank branch and showed it as an expenditure and transferred all the money into his account.

During the auditing, the fraud came to light and the accused officer could not justify the withdrawal from the government account and deposit of the fund to his personal account. notice was issued to him asking to explain about the expenditure of Rs 25.50 lakh funds.

Accused officer had stated that Rs 15.97 lakh had been spent on the Karaga festival held between April 19 and 29 at Dharmarayaswamy temple in Bengaluru. He had not given any details of expenditure for the remaining amount. It was found that the accused had also got a 10 gram gold coin and a broken piece of gold for himself.

The accused had kept it a secret. The police are investigating the matter further.

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