But in the same breath admitted he had warned him he would be forced to stage a dharna in front of the chief minister’s residence if he continued to conduct the probe against his son in the manner it was being done.
“Yes, I called Gaonkar over the phone and I told him he was crossing the limits and the probe he was conducting against my son was not fair and impartial. I also said I had staged a dharna in front of the chief minister’s residence in the past and that I would be forced to do it again if he (the officer) continues to conduct the probe in the same manner,” Gowda told reporters.
Gaonkar had in a letter to the chief secretary and Acting Karnataka Lokayukta Justice S B Majage informed about the call made by Gowda.
The former prime minister was irked by a raid conducted by the Lokayukta sleuths at his eldest son Balakrishne Gowda’s residence recently in connection with a disproportionate assets case. Balakrishne Gowda was a KAS officer.
Deve Gowda strongly defended himself, saying: “The officer has not conducted the probe in an impartial manner. The Lokayukta sleuths raided Balakrishne Gowda’s residence for nearly seven hours at a stretch and collected insignificant details such as money spent on a pooja in some temple and slippers and pets. Despite extending full co-operation, the police subjected the security guards of the house to severe mental harassment. It was a human rights violation. It was too much and hence, I called up Gaonkar,” he explained.
The same police, Gowda alleged, conducted a raid on the residence and the offices of the sons and son-in-law of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa recently. But it lasted just about two hours. The police collected hardly any details and wound up the raid, he said.
“Can we expect an impartial investigative report from such an officer? I am not a schoolgoing boy not to understand that the Lokayukta police were dancing to the tunes of Yeddyurappa. Can an officer act in such a way without directions from the top,” Gowda asked.
Asked whether he was trying to influence the probe, he said he never interfered in the Lokayukta investigation into the cases involving his family and himself.
Deve Gowda said the transfer of Gaonkar did not make any difference in the Lokayukta. “Whether he (Gaonkar) is transferred or not, it makes little difference… Should he continue in the post,” he asked.
Reacting to the development, former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde told Deccan Herald the transfer of Gaonkar “suited” both Deve Gowda and the government.
“What the government has done is worse compared to Gowda’s behaviour. The govt thought it could play ‘musical chair’ with officers. But now, it is feeling the heat. And that’s the reason why it shunted the officer out within two months of his taking charge. Anyhow, Gowda should not have telephoned the officer,” Hegde said.