Lokayukta turns the screws on Yeddyurappa

Hegde serves notice on the chief minister over land scams

Lokayukta turns the screws on Yeddyurappa

“After scrutiny of the complaint we found that it had sufficient prima facie material to be taken up for investigation,”  Lokayukta Santosh Hedge told reporters in Bangalore.

The Lokayukta’s action has come as a further embarrassment to Yeddyurappa, who only recently was given a breather by the BJP central leadership to continue at the helm of affairs in the State.

The JD(S), which has been gunning for Yeddyurappa, had filed a complaint on November 18 against the chief minister for denotifying lands, claiming it was a Rs 5,000-crore scam to favour his family members and others.  The 580-page complaint filed by party spokesperson Y V S Datta had made specific allegations against the chief minister for denotifying valuable government land to favour members of his family.

The notice to Yeddyurappa was signed and dispatched from the Lokayukta’s office on November 24, Hegde said. Hegde has been at loggerheads with the Yeddyurappa government accusing it of deciding “unilaterally”to order a judicial probe into the alleged land scams, This, at a time the issue was pending before the Lokayukta. He also took strong exception to the allegations by a section of BJP legislators that he was taking an anti-Yeddyurappa stand.

“There have been a total of 14 complaints against the chief minister during the last two- and-a-half years. Eight have been closed without even issuing a notice to the chief minister. If I had any malice against the chief minister, I could have taken up these cases.

But on preliminary inquiry, it was found the complaints had been filed with mala fide intention and we closed them,” Hegde said. A visibly angry Hegde claimed that the government was deliberately trying to tarnish his image by seeking a status report on seven cases entrusted to the Lokayukta.

“There are a total of  29 cases pending before the Lokayukta institution since 2000. Why does the government want to know the status of investigation only in seven? It is clear that they want to project me as a pro-JD(S ) or a pro-Congress person. I have no such prejudices,” Hegde said.

In a letter to the Lokayukta on Saturday, the state government sought the status of seven cases, including appointment of assistant engineers in the PWD, construction of a ring road in Hassan, setting up of the Nandagudi SEZ and the Garuda Mall joint venture, among others. All  these decisions were taken during the tenure of H D Kumaraswamy as chief minister.

Hegde said he had sent a reply that the ground work to commence investigation in all these cases had been completed. Besides, public notices have been issued. Hegde attributed the delay in starting of probe in some cases due to petitions pending before the High Court.

The Lokayukta said the government, by ordering a judicial probe into the land scams without his consent, had committed a major legal lapse. “It is an affront to an organisation which is created under a statute. I am not prepared to accept this kind of action from the government or any opposition party,” the anti-corruption watchdog said.


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