Vajubhai Vala, the Governor of Karnataka and a former Gujarat finance minister has raked up a controversy which is not known to many. A recent RTI has revealed that the state government spent Rs 2.4 crore on renovating the Raj Bhavan and chartering private aircraft for Vala’s official visits since he took charge on September 1, 2014.
In a reply to an RTI filed by a private TV channel, the public works department stated that the renovation work was undertaken after the finance department gave a special sanction of Rs 3 crore through an order dated January 5, 2015. Seven civil works (renovation) were undertaken and Rs 3 crore were spent, besides that electrical works worth Rs 1 crore were carried out.
So that makes it a total of Rs 4 crore on renovation of Raj Bhavan and another Rs 1.30 crore on air travel, including special flights during nine months of the Governor’s tenure so far.
But the story does not end there. Earlier too, Vajubhai Vala has been under investigation in Gujarat for similar charges but the state government had failed to provide report to
the complainant, Roshan Shah. Shah had filed a complaint and urged the Gujarat state authorities to look into Vala’s disproportionate assets but the complaint was closed without any concrete information about the investigation or the follow up on the case provided to Shah. Some of the requests made by the complainant, Shah were:
– Please forward this to CBI / Vigilance to investigate and have report filed.
– Please maintain detailed log on this grievance, who has looked into it, when, what are the remarks, etc. Have detailed
documentation on this as this will uncover huge scam.
Citing his earlier complaints regarding Vala’s disproportionate assets, RTI activist/complainant Roshan Shah has now written a to the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah asking him to intervene before taxpayer’s money is spent in such a large scale.
Speaking to Janta Ka Reporter, RTI activist Roshan claimed that, “State government of Gujarat never takes action or replies to people who file complaint against corrupt ministers or officials as they are hand in glove with the government.”
Roshan states that the last resort is the Gujarat High Court in this regard.
Speaking about Vala’s expenditure as Governor of Karnataka, Law Minister of the state T B Jayachandra recently said, “Governor is like father of the state and a constitutional authority. Hence, I do not want to make any comments. Let people know who is spending how much.”
Vajubhai Vala is not new to controversies. In March this year, at a function held for the swearing-in of transferred Judges of High Court, Vala walked away from the stage in the middle of the national anthem only to come back when someone pointed out his error. Some recent reports also suggest that the Governor had slowed down the government’s efforts to act against five corrupt members of the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) regarding their suspension.