Make Bannurmath Lokayukta or quit, governor told

On Friday, it again vehemently argued that its decision was sound and final, and that Governor H R Bhardwaj should stop ‘targeting’ Bannurmath.

With the governor digging his heels in vis-a-vis Bannurmath’s candidature, and the government sticking to its stand, it looks like the Lokayukta post will continue to remain vacant for some more time.

Addressing a press conference in Bangalore, B J Puttaswamy, political secretary to the chief minister, said: “The governor has been constantly attacking Bannurmath only because he is a Lingayat. He is also projecting Bannurmath as guilty when there is no ground for the allegations made against him. The governor should either approve the appointment or resign from his post immediately.”

He wondered why the government should change its decision. “What wrong has he (Bannurmath) done? The governor is going out of his way to defame the judge’s reputation. It’s ironic that media reports have become the cause for this smear campaign against the judge. At no cost will the government change its stand. The same formula can be applied to the governor, as there are media reports of an FIR filed against him,” he said.

Puttaswamy said Bhardwaj had not set a good precedence by ‘targeting’ Bannurmath. “He should correct himself.”

Releasing a list of 84 judges who had been allotted sites in the Karnataka State Judicial Department Employees’ House Building Co-operative Society, Puttaswamy said Bannurmath, unlike Justice Shivaraj Patil, had only one site.

As both the High Court and the Supreme Court had not found any discrepancy in the matter, it should be put to rest, he added.

The BJP leader said that at no point had either the government or the Bangalore Development Authority stated that Bannurmath had built a house on a civic amenities site in a park, in violation of norms. Allegations that the judge had build a house on a CA site are baseless. Even if he has, it is not his fault, as he is only a beneficiary of the site, Puttaswamy said.

He said the governor had no constitutional authority to reject the government’s recommendation. Bhardwaj’s actions are illegal, he said, adding that the governor and former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde had conspired against the BJP government, with the only aim of destabilising it.

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