‘Delay in Lokayukta appointment suits K’taka govt’

Santosh Hegde
Bangalore, Nov 21: Former Karnataka Lokayutka N Santosh Hegde believes that the Karnataka government might be "delaying" appointment of the new head to the anti-corruption agency as it suits it.

Hegde told PTI that he gets a feeling the government is out to "discredit and destablise" the Lokayukta institution.

Asked about perception in some quarters that the government has adopted a "delaying tactics", he said: "They (delaying tactics) would be there because (BJP state unit President K S Eshwarappa) himself said that the (Lokayukta) should be closed and he has gone to the extent of saying that this is an institution of thieves".

Therefore, it suited the government to delay appointing a new Lokayukta head, Hegde, a key member of Team Anna, said. "One of the best ways to kill the institution is not to appoint a head to the institution," he said.

However, Hegde declined to comment on the stand-off between the BJP government and the Governor H R Bhardwaj on the issue.

"I would not want to comment on it (the stand-off) because it will be misunderstood," Hegde said.

The government recommended S R Bannurmath, former Chief Justice of Kerala High Court, nearly four weeks ago but the Governor has asked it to rethink his name citing reports in a section of the press (about alleged land-grabbing charges against him), among others.

Amid indications that the government is firm on the choice of Bannurmath, Law Minister S Suresh Kumar said last week it has followed "precedents" and consulted Chief Justice of the High Court, leaders of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and Council and Presiding Officers of both Houses before recommending the name.

Justice V Shivaraj Patil quit as Karnataka Lokayukta in September within six weeks in office, after succeeding Justice Hegde, following allegations of getting a site in a housing cooperative society in violation of cooperative societies by-laws.


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