Lokayukta's striking arm just got longer

Lokayukta's striking arm just got longer

In a recent notification to all state Lokyuktas, including that in Karnataka, the CBI sought their assistance in curbing corruption and malpractices among central government officials.

Armed with this notification, the Karnataka Lokayukta will now be able to bring under its purview the railways, banks, telecom, post and telegraph, Customs and Central Excise offices that operate across the state.

Lokayukta sources said that under the new arrangement, the institution will now be able to entertain and lodge complaints and also organise traps to nab Central government officers suspected of indulging in corrupt practices.

Once all steps, including preparation of reports at the state level, are taken, the Lokayukta will transfer the cases to the CBI which will proceed with filing of chargesheets and prosecution.

When contacted, Karnataka Lokayukta Justice (retd) Santosh Hegde said: “It is not that my job profile has enhanced, but the notification should have been issued earlier.” Hegde said since the time that he has been heading the office of Lokayukta, he would feel helpless whenever “widows approached me with complaints against postmen demanding 10 per cent of the pension they received”.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Lokayukta ADGP Roop Kumar Dutta said the notification would help his officers take cognisance of complaints, especially from rural areas. “People in the rural areas will now be able to lodge complaints at the Lokayukta’s local branches,” Dutta said, adding that complaints of city-dwellers, including Bangaloreans, faced with corrupt practices in Central government organisations, will also be entertained.

But Dutta made it clear that in accordance with the guidelines of the notification, the Lokayukta will not be able to carry out raids against Central government employees.
“Neither will cases related to criminal misappropriation of Central funds be looked into by us,” Data emphasised.

Lokayukta officials are, however, upbeat that the notification would empower them to act swiftly on complaints, especially those related to bribery.

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