Bengaluru, Aug 17: The Lokayukta in Karnataka was once a feared institution. People trusted the Lokayukta and would look up to the institution in case they had to battle corruption. The Lokayukta, on an average would receive 40 cases per day.
However, all that has changed now with hardly 10 cases being registered before the Lokayukta each day. There are two things that can be made out of this drop in numbers- either corruption has subsided in Karnataka or the alleged corruption within the Lokayukta has reduced the faith the people once had in the institution.
The trust is collapsing:
Several people who once swore by the Lokyaukta today raise doubts over the integrity of the institution. Everyday we get to read in the papers about the corruption in the Lokayukta. In such a scenario how do we even trust it, asks Venkatesh, an advocate from Karnataka. The Lokyaukta was often equated to a tiger and officials and politicians feared the institution.
Today, all that has changed and people feel that if the institution itself is battling corruption charges, then how they can preach to others leave alone register cases. There has been a dramatic drop in the number of cases that are being filed before the Lokayukta.
There was a time when at an average the Lokayukta would witness at least 30 to 40 different complainants wanting to lodge cases. Today it is hardly ten per day and that statistic tells a lot about the state of affairs in the Lokayukta.
Where is the Lokayukta?
There is a great deal of uncertainty in the Lokayukta. Justice Y Bhaskar Rao who was to return to Bengaluru and host the national flag at the Lokayukta's office on August 15th has extended his leave.
He was on long leave and was to return by August 15th, but now appears to have extended his leave until August 31.
The Special Investigating Team which is probing extortion and corruption allegations against some officials of the Lokayukta and also Justice Bhaskar Rao's son, Ashwin Rao had prepared a questionnaire.
The SIT constituted by the government of Karnataka had prepared a set of questions which they wanted Justice Rao to answer and the same was to be handed over to him this week.
However, there would be a delay now with Justice Rao extending his leave. An officer with the SIT informed OneIndia that they have no option now but to wait for him to return.
There are key aspects in the questionnaire which only Justice Rao can answer. The use of the conference hall and the phone line at his residence allegedly to make those extortion calls by those in his office or close to him are part of the questionnaire.
Raids have stopped:
All this controversy has literally brought work to a standstill. There are nearly 70 to 80 complaints that are pending before the Lokayukta. Raids were supposed to be conducted, but that has stopped.
The Lokyaukta officials can act upon most of the complaints only once Justice Rao returns. Traps have be laid and raids conducted, but all that has been put on hold now.
Almost 70 to 80 complaints are at the initial stage and are pending. Delays in cases of corruption will prove fatal to the investigation.
The trust is slowly diminishing and unless and until a complete clean up act is not done, this institution may soon become history.