Site row forces Patil out

Site row forces Patil out

Lokayukta quits, insists he and family have done nothing wrong

Site row forces Patil out

Lokayukta Justice Shivaraj V Patil addressing the media after submitting his resignation in Bangalore on Monday. DH photo

He was apparently under pressure, facing allegations that he had violated housing society bye-laws. The resignation is yet to be accepted by the governor.
Addressing mediapersons after submitting his resignation to Governor H R Bharadwaj, Patil said: “In this uncongenial atmosphere, I have deemed it appropriate to submit my resignation.”

He said he was quitting with a discomforting thought whether he was giving up his office yielding to the “malicious campaign of a few” and letting down the hopes of “many” who had reposed their faith in him.

“I request all concerned to honestly reflect and decide whether they want to fight against corruption or malign people who take up the fight against the corrupt,” Patil urged, after he had refuted all allegations against him.

He warned that this would  set a wrong precedence which could prevent honest people from taking up such positions. The state government has reportedly decided to adopt a neutral stance vis-a-vis the resignation—neither accepting it nor rejecting it—a senior officer in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat said.

‘Deeply hurt’

Speaking with Deccan Herald, relatives of Justice Shivaraj Patil said there was no political compulsion behind his resignation.  “The decision was purely made by him and it was taken late last night. He has been deeply hurt by the allegations,” said the relative.

Allegations that he had violated Section 10 (a) of the House-Building Co-operative Bye-law forced Patil to quit within six weeks of him assuming charge as the Lokayukta, even as he maintains that he had not violated any law.

It is alleged that he had violated the bye-laws by owning two co-operative society plots, one in his name and another in his wife Annapurna’s name. According to the law, only one member from a family can own a co-operative society plot.

Annapurna, a member of Vyalikaval House-Building Co-operative Society (VHBCS), was allotted a plot (4,012 sqft) near Nagavara in 2006. Patil had purchased a 9,600-sqft plot at Allalasandra near Yelahanka through the Karnataka State Judicial Employees’ House-Building Cooperative Society (KSJEHBCS) in 1994.

Patil, in his defence, said on Monday: “I was allotted the site in the Judicial Layout by the Karnataka Judicial Department Employees’ House building Co-operative Society. This was challenged in the High Court and the Supreme Court, but both dismissed the petitions.”
On the controversial site allotment to Annapurna, he clarified that the site was allocated under a registered sale deed.

Stating that the initial  membership (in 1982) of VHB Co-op was in the name of his brother-in-law Shivaraj, Patil said: “The society had failed in forming a layout even 20 years after. It in fact, decided to seek Government permission to sell sites on an outright basis i.e, without restriction, so as to facilitate repayment to the bank and refund its members.”

 By then, he said, Shivraj had invested in another apartment and thereby transferred the membership to Annapurna, making her the associate member. “My wife got the outright sale deed in her favour,”  he said.

He said: “I had, voluntarily declared my assets soon after I took charge as the Lokayukta and even my wife has never filed any affidavit making any false declaration at any point leading to any misrepresentation of our assets.

“All the purchases have been made using legitimate funds which are accounted for,” he stressed. Patil regretted that despite the move to ask his wife to surrender the site forthwith, “an issue was raised in this regard without any justification”.