A top IAS officer in the Karnataka state secretariat today alleged that a ruling Congress MLA "abused and threatened" him for not clearing his son'sapplication pertaining to granting of mining lease. Rejecting the charges, the MLA, K Shivamurthy Naik, told PTI, "There is CCTV camera. Let people see whether I attacked him." Secretary in the Commerce and Industries Department, Rajender Kumar Kataria said he has apprised Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the incident and sought protection from the MLA. Kataria said he has also written a letter to the chief secretary Subhash Chandra Khuntia, principal secretary to the chief minister L K Ateeq and IAS Officers' Association president P Ravikumar. "After this incident, I met the chief minister and told him that under these circumstances, it will become difficult for me to discharge my duties.
I had the option to lodge a police complaint but Iavoided it," he said. Kataria said it was not possible for him to favour somebody by violating rules. "When the Supreme Court is closely monitoring the mining business in Karnataka, it is not possible to favour anybody,"he told PTI. In his letter to the chief secretary yesterday, the IAS officer said the MLA's son Suraj had applied for grant of ornamental quarry lease in six acres of land in survey number 78 of Siddeshwaranadurga village, Challakere Taluk in Chitradurga district. He claimed that the application filed by Naik was "ineligible" as per the rules. Kataria alleged the MLA tried to "force" him to get the filecleared immediately from the director of mines and geology andapprove it today itself. "He also mentioned that he is the government and hisorders have to be complied with," the officer said. "You are myservant and if you do not listen to my orders, you have to face dire consequences in future," Kataria quoted the MLA as saying. The IAS officer, in his letter, said, "He has not only abused me before the public, but also stated that I had looted money in this department and I was not willing to do the work of his son overruling the legalposition." When contacted, Naik refuted the charges ofabusing or attacking the officer. He said he heads the SC/ST welfare legislature committee and wanted to meet the officer for the welfare of the downtrodden community. "I went to meet Kataria to impress upon him that there should be reservation for SC/ST in the mining business. Thereshould be at least 25 per cent reservation for us also," the MLA said. When asked about his son Suraj's application for mining in six acres of land, the MLA said, "Suraj is secondary. It is about us 35 MLAs, 10 MLCs from all the parties and lakhs of people from SC/ST community who have been deprived of our share in the mining business.
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