NMMC Commissioner Dr. Ramaswamy N has rejected the clean chit given to suspended Dy. Municipal Commissioner Prakash Kulkarni. The clean chit has been given by the team that was doing the departmental enquiry on Prakash Kulkarni. The report states that there is no proof of irregularities done by Prakash Kulkarni. After rejecting the report of the fact finding committee, the Commissioner has sent a show cause notice to the suspended civic officer and has given him 15 days to reply to the notice. Speaking to NMTV, NMMC Commissioner Dr. Ramaswamy N said that, “We have rejected the report given to us by the departmental enquiry team. A show cause notice has been served to him and he has 15 days to reply to it.”
He added that, “The enquiry was done by the team even before I took charge as NMMC Commissioner. However, having enough documentary evidence, we have sent the show cause notice.”
It may be recalled that besides allegations of a huge property tax scam that was unearthed when Tukaram Mundhe was NMMC Civic Chief, a FIR was also filed against Kulkarni early this year. The Anti Corruption Bureau was alerted for carrying out a probe and reportedly they had detected administrative irregularities in tax collection from property-holders in NMMC’s jurisdiction. There were also allegations that Kulkarni and his subordinates manipulated the computer-generated property tax-billing system and caused a financial loss to NMMC to the tune of Rs 681.65 crore.
They were also accused of tampering with the computerized system for property tax billing. It has been found that Kulkarni had sent an email to the agency that had provided computer software for printing property tax bills and told them to make changes in the software system so that it did not print the bills of 3,301 land under construction (LUC) properties, whose list was also provided to the agency. They were told to ensure that the names of these properties, mostly of builders and owners of commercial establishments, did not appear in the list of property tax payment defaulters. Hence, the bills were not sent to 2,618 property owners, causing a revenue loss of Rs 681.65 crore.
They also manipulated the rateable value of 18 properties. They also prepared duplicate bills for the same property for the same period and despite some property owners defaulting in payment of tax, they issued ‘no dues certificate’.
The decision of the Commissioner now stands to seal the fate of Prakash Kulkarni who has always been in the center of allegations ranging from being very corrupt to looting the NMMC treasury.