HC seeks info on illegal Rail bridge constructed to link ex.Rail Minister Jaffer Sharief’s home

Karnataka HCबंगलूरू Bangalore (SBC): The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the Railways to furnish details pertaining to the construction of a bridge which provides access to former Railway Minister C K Jaffer Sharieff’s property on the outskirts of the City.

Justice Ram Mohan Reddy issued the direction after the Railways refused to provide a manned crossing to the petitioners’ farm at Puttasomanahalli near Pandavapura in Mandya district. The petitioners, C S Rajesh and other 18 villagers had moved the Court seeking right of way to approach their farm on the other side of the railway line, which was blocked by an unmanned railway gate.

The railway gate connecting lines between Bangalore and Mysore was locked on May 25, 2004 and the Railways had been refusing to open it despite the High Court interim order in 2005. The Railways had submitted before the Court that since there was zero traffic along this stretch it cannot provide manned crossing there.

“When you can provide such an acess to a former minister’s property, why this discrimination for a common man?,” the Court observed, and directed the Railways to furnish details of its notification for construction of the bridge, by Wednesday afternoon.

During the post lunch session, the divisional engineer of railways who appeared before the Court submitted that the said notification had been destroyed as it was decades old. The court then sought for the “instruction register” of Railways which records the direction to destroy the notification.

When the official faltered, Justice Reddy lashed out saying, “You are furnishing wrong information and misleading the court. This is how you misutilise the public fund. If you do not have the file, destroy the bridge.” The court also warned the official that he will be sent to jail for misleading the Court. However when the official sought time to search for it, the court adjourned the matter and observed, “Submit the destruction records to the registry. If not, the matter will be entrusted for investigation.”