Tussle with govt hampered Lokayukta

Last Updated 26 December 2010, 17:51 IST
Tussle with govt hampered Lokayukta

Fed up with the government attitude of not fulfilling the Lokayukta demands, taking action against the institution’s spirit and ‘deliberate delay’ in filling up the vacant post of Upa Lokayukta, Hegde submitted his  resignation in June. However, he bowed to pressure and withdrew the resignation a couple of weeks later.

The conflict with the government took a different direction with the Lokayukta taking on the government and some politicians of the ruling BJP allegedly involved in land scams. The tension between the two institutions worsened with Opposition parties lodging complaints with the Lokayukta and the latter acting proactively. Some BJP leaders went to the extent of charging Hegde with taking sides with the Congress and JD(S).
“The conflict was so much it came down to the level of individual criticism. It is unfortunate as it took on a political colour. I suppose it’s natural for political parties in power to be aggrieved whenever Lokayukta acts adversely,” Hegde observed.

Fulfilled and unfulfilled
In fact, the State government fulfilled some of the Lokayukta’s demands. It provided additional support staff and vehicles. It also equipped the institution with suo motu powers to act against bureaucrats. But, there was no action regarding major demands.
“We had demanded power to act suo motu against politicians in office, some amendments to sanction prosecution of corrupt officials and additional allowance of 30 per cent to staff on par with Lokayukta staff in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, but nothing has happened so far,” Hegde said.

2011- crucial year
The New Year may see escalation of the conflict as the Lokayukta is expected to submit final reports in some of the high profile cases including theft of illegal export of iron ore and land scams involving the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board.
The Lokayukta has decided to file chargesheet against those involved in corruption and scams by March 31, Hegde revealed.

The Lokayukta has objected to the Chief Minister’s move in ordering a judicial probe into alleged land scams involving him and his kin.

Hegde has argued that the government should have consulted him before setting up another inquiry when he is investigating into the KIADB land scam. Moreover, the move has been challenged in the High Court.

Hegde has declared he will complete the probe and submit report before his retirement on August 2, 2011 if the HC decision goes against the government, empowering the Lokayukta to investigate land scam allegedly involving Yeddyurappa and his kin.

“I am rather pessimistic about the new year. The Government has certain reservations about me. My relationship with the government will end in the first week of August. The Lokayukta is for good governance. Hence, criticism should be taken in good spirit. Our criticism of the government’s stand should not be viewed as similar to the allegations of Opposition parties,” Hegde said.Yeddyurappa and his colleagues will demur.

*Santosh Hegde resigned on June 23
* Withdrew resignation on July 4.
* Shashidhar B Majage sworn in as Upa Lokayukta on July 19.
*Corporator Katta Jagadish arrested on September 28.
* Following an FIR, Katta Subramanya Naidu resigns on December 3 

* Illegal mining in Bellary
* Reports on e-stamping
* Irregularities in constructions all over the State
* Functioning of Sub-registrars’ offices
* Deviations in Town Planning activities

(Published 26 December 2010, 17:45 IST)

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