Bengaluru, March 21: Opposition BJP today alleged in the Karnataka Assembly that the Siddaramaiah-led government was "destabilising" the Lokayukta by creating a separate Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and demanded its withdrawal.
Questioning the intentions of the government on the issue, Leader of Opposition Jagadish Shettar said the state was trying to protect the corrupt and possibly using the ACB as a tool for vendetta politics. He demanded that the subject be taken up for discussion immediately as it is of public importance. JD(S) also supported him.
Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa then permitted the House to discuss the issue. Pointing out that the government did not initially support the opposition's demand for removal of Justice Bhaskar Rao as Lokayukta over allegations of corruption involving his son, Shettar said, "Now with this notification, government is bringing a big close to Karnataka Lokayukta which was regarded as model for the country."
Announcing the creation of ACB recently, the state government had said that with this new institution, the bureau will be the statutory authority to investigate Prevention of Corruption Act offences. The current Police wing of the Karnataka Lokayukta will exclusively assist the Lokayukta and the Upa Lokayuktas in carrying out the responsibilities under the Karnataka Lokayukta Act.
Calling creation of ACB as an attempt to close cases against Chief Minister, Ministers, their supporters and officials, Shettar said the government was trying to run anti-corruption bodies "as its puppets." Shettar said, "it is not Anti Corruption Bureau; it is Corruption Protection Bureau- CPB."
Law Minister Jayachandra said the government has in no way tried to curtail the powers of Lokayukta. Shettar accused government of "murdering" Lokayukta body and said the ACB will be answerable to Chief Minister.
He also raised questions about the Vigilance Advisory Board that he alleged will along with senior IAS and police officials contain "known people" or "private members".
Government had announced creation of Vigilance Advisory Board to guide and supervise the vigilance mechanism and to guide and administratively supervise the functioning of the Vigilance officers and the ACB.