Diary expose: Karnataka Lokayukta knew it all, chose to be mum
Did the Karnataka Lokayukta know of a 'diary' that held information of illegal money transactions much before the BJP levelled allegations against the Congress? OneIndia has accessed documents that prove that the Lokayukta knew of a certain diary and its contents way back in December 2016. While the anti-corruption body acknowledged the information about the diary, no concrete action has been initiated so far.
A diary allegedly belonging to Congress MLC Govindaraju had made it to the headlines less than a week ago. The diary alleged to have contained details of money paid to Congress leaders was used as ammunition by the BJP in the state to dent the party's image. While the issue of the diary was raked up only last week, it now seems that there is more history to it. OneIndia has accessed a complaint letter dated December 20, 2016.
Addressed to the Lokayukta, the complaint alleges that income tax raids on Govindaraju led sleuths to a diary that contained details of corruption and bribe payments. It specifies that kickbacks were received for projects such as steel flyover in Bengaluru and that engineers of the BDA have made payments. IT urged for contents of the diary to be verified and action against those involved in corruption.
Despite receiving the complaint two months ago, sources in the Lokayukta say that no case has been filed so far in this regard. The complaint was sent to the registrar of Lokayukta who in turn wrote to the Income Tax Department seeking information on the diary.
OneIndia is also in possession of the reply that Lokayukta received from the income tax department. Dated 6 February 2017, the letter asks Lokayukta to seek information in Form 46 through a police officer of or above the rank of superintendent of police in the competent jurisdiction of Lokayukta in Bengaluru. "The tone of the letter from the IT Department makes it clear that a diary exists. It was indeed seized. They have only asked the Lokayukta to seek information through the proper channel," said a source in the Lokayukta.
While a reply has been received, no one seems to know what has happened to the original complaint and where it stands today. The Lokayukta has written to the IT Department to gather evidence for a corruption allegation, however, not having evidence does not stop the Lokayukta from registering a case and probing the charijges. The peculiar behaviour of the Lokayukta in refusing to file a case in this regard for over two months has raised many eyebrows. Moreover, the IT Department's reply has not been placed before the Upalokayukta who received the complaint in the first place. Despite having the powers to register cases of corruption, what stops the Lokayukta from probing an MLC?
Will the organisation live up to its name of being an anti-corruption watchdog or will the tag of being a toothless organisation stick to the ombudsman, is the real question.