By P.T. Bopanna
Venugopal, who is the eyes and ears of Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Karnataka, has been accused by the Coorg Wildlife Society (CWS) of pushing for infrastructure projects, including the railway line to benefit his home state of Kerala.
The CWS alleged that Venugopal had misused his office in the past also for pushing the 400 KV power line to Kodagu which led to felling of nearly 60,000 trees in the district.
Despite the assurances from both Karnataka and Union governments that the Thalassery-Mysuru line has been shelved, officials of the Konkan railway corporation had been carrying out survey a fortnight ago in private lands belonging to farmers in Kodagu.
It is suspected that Venugopal was behind the survey as apparently he has used his clout as in-charge Congress secretary for Karnataka to push for his hidden agenda.
It is no secret that Kodagu legislators belonging to the BJP have remained silent and not protested vociferously against the railway line as the same would benefit the timber lobby.
The proposed railway line could lead to serious environmental damage in the core catchment area of Cauvery in Kodagu.
It may be recalled Venugopal’s name appeared in connection with the solar panel scam in neighbouring Kerala and the prime accused in the scam case Saritha Nair had allegedly named Venugopal among others who had sexually assaulted her.