Santosh Hegde defends Lokayukta report on illegal mining

Written by: Pti
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Santosh Hegde
Bangalore, Mar 7: Defending the Lokayukta report on illegal mining, then Lokayukta Santosh Hegde today rejected views that quashing of an FIR against former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa by the High Court on the grounds of violation of natural justice was a "rap" on his findings.

"I don't consider it as a rap on my report as Lokayukta is a quasi-investigating agency. Our orders are accepted, rejected, neglected and sometimes not acted upon. We don't consider this is a rap," he told reporters here.

On the quashing of FIR, he said there was no need to issue show cause notice to the accused as per the 1990 order of a division bench in the Dr Chowdappa vs state of Karnataka case.

"This is the stand I took in my first part of the report," Hegde said. He said the Court relied on Section 9 of the Lokayukta Act to conclude that the principles of natural justice has to be complied with. "It is entirely a different section," he argued.

He said the quashing of FIR has stalled investigation into a complaint. "My recommendation to the government is not to prosecute in the sense you should investigate and proceed further in accordance with law," he said.

Hegde said as per his understanding of law, FIRs are quashed only in two cases -- where investigation is conducted by an incompetent authority or the probe is malafide.

"In this (illegal mining case), question of malafide has not been urged ... and I think Lokayukta police is competent authority to investigate," he said. "Now to quash it under grounds that Lokayukta police is investigating at the instance of Lokayukta report ... is hard to understand," he added.

On the Court's observation the report was 'bad in law',he said he would leave it to people to judge the seriousness of the issue brought out by him in his report.

He said it was extraordinary that a mining firm not having any money in its working account borrows Rs 10 crore from a sister concern and donates it to an eductional institution privately run by Yeddyurappa's family when its application for mining grant is pending before the government.

"The same firm again borrows Rs 20 crore and purchases one acre of denotified land in Rachenahalli. Why is this company only dealing with Yeddyurappa's family?" he asked.


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