Guv sticks to stand on Lokayukta

Bhardwaj feels vested interests may try to scuttle mining scam report

Guv sticks to stand on Lokayukta

Governor H R Bhardwaj said here on Sunday that he refused to appoint Justice S R Bannurmath Lokayukta as he felt some vested interests would try to scuttle the implementation of a report on mining scam and not because the former judge possessed a site in a layout.

He said the government had agreed to put forward a new name for the Lokayukta post.
The governor’s clarification came soon after he administered the oath of office to Justice Chandrashekariah as Upa Lokayukta on Sunday at Raj Bhavan in Bangalore.

The government could get clearance from the governor for the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah within 24 hours. The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Ministers Suresh Kumar and R Ashoka and Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Revanna, among others. Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda did not make it to the programme.

 There were apprehensions whether the governor would give his consent to the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah as he also “owns a 4,000 sqft site in Judicial Layout. “

Bhardwaj, addressing a press conference, said when he was going through a file on the appointment of the lokayukta, certain police officers who were doing a good job were summarily removed. “This gave rise to ‘a great suspicion’. Also some tainted people in the mining report began lobbying for his (Bannurmath) appointment. There should be no effort to browbeat or finish the Lokayukta institution,” he said.

The governor reiterated that he had written a two-page letter to the government explaining the reasons for not approving the selection it made for the lokayukta post.

But he did not divulge the details to the media. However, he was optimistic that the government would come with an alternative name within a week or ten days.

A reporter pointed out that the government had said that the ball was in governor’s court and it is left to him to appoint the lokayukta.

The governor said: “There is no ball or court. And there is no deadlock. I have not set any deadline to the government to fill the post. But don’t try to put a fly in my mouth and ask me to swallow it. The question of appointing him (Bannurmath) doesn’t arise.

“The chief minister absolutely agrees with me. He has to consult his colleagues. Now, there are two upa lokayuktas. Let them be consulted, too.”

To a question whether the decks have been cleared for the appointment of Justice Bannurmath with the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah as he, too, owns a site in the controversial Judicial Layout, he said: “Owning a site was never the criterion to make a selection. I don’t know who owns a site or a house. It was never on my mind. I can’t defame a person on this ground.

The Thomas case (CVC) was on my mind when I was handling the file. Lack of integrity can pose problems. I had to be cautious. I have nothing against Bannurmath and he is a good friend of mine.”

He said that as promised by him, he gave his consent to the appointment of the upa lokayukta within a day. “I had said that if I get a good man, I will immediately appoint. And I have done that.

On Saturday the government told me about the selection of the upa lokayukta and the swearing-in ceremony is already over. I am sure the lokayukta issue will be resolved in a week or ten days. If I get a good man, I will give my clearance in half an hour.”

The governor said Karnataka has a very good Lokayukta institution.
Justice Santosh Hegde, who is by and large respected in the State as well as in the country, is the barometer for assessing a good work.

There should be no efforts to whitewash the mining report, he insisted.

Chief Secretary gets a pat on the back

Governor Bhardwaj was in a mood to compliment some politicians and officers, reports DHNS from Bangalore. The officer who got a pat on the back from the governor was Chief Secretary S V Ranganath. “The Chief Secretary is like a Devatha aadmi (Godly man). He works so hard and he is upright,” the governor said.

The governor has no ego clashes with Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda.  The governor said Gowda and Law & Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar have been working very well.
 

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