Governor's charges baseless, malicious, says Bannurmath

Allegations have dented my reputation, rendered me a helpless sufferer

A day after rejecting the Lokayukta post, Justice S R Bannurmath on Tuesday lashed out at Governor Hansraj Bhardwaj, saying “baseless allegations”made by the governor against him had dented his image and reputation.

File photo

Terming Bhardwaj’s charges “false and baseless”, Bannurmath said there was no factual foundation for any allegations levelled against him.

“The false, malicious and baseless allegations against me, made by the governor in the media, have affected my image, reputation and peace of mind and rendered me a helpless sufferer,” Bannurmath said reading from a prepared speech.

Questioning why the allegations about acquisition of a site were made against him without ascertaining the facts from him or the judicial housing society, Bannurmath accused the governor of double standards for approving the appointment of Upa Lokayukta Chandrashekaraiah who has also “acquired a site illegally”.

“Is there no code of decent conduct, or of propriety, expected to be followed and respected by high constitutional functionaries (governors) in the matter of making public allegations against a person being considered for such appointment without giving him an opportunity to explain? Are there no sanctions... Would it not be the responsibility of the higher custodians of the administration of justice to initiate action of contempt of court against such persons,” Bannurmath asked.

Bannurmath refused to take questions from reporters and stuck to his prepared speech. He denied he owned any other property except the one in the Judicial Layout and said a writ petition challenging the owning of sites by judges in the Judicial Layout had been dismissed by the High Court and the HC order upheld by the Supreme Court.

Denies site allotment
He also denied the site allotted to him was one reserved for civic amenities. Bannurmath said he had kept quiet all these days in the hope that the accusations would be found false, but instead they had become more vitriolic.

With him opting out of the race, the name of Justice B N Srikrishna is doing the rounds for the post of Lokayukta. A retired Judge of the Supreme Court, Srikrishna is known for investigating the Mumbai riots in December 1992 and January 1993. He also inquired into the Madras High Court riots in 2009.

Bannurmath’s name was suggested for the post of Lokayukta by the State government on October 27 last year. The post fell vacant after the resignation of Justice Shivaraj Patil as the Lokayukta, following media reports about his wife owning a site in violation of housing society bye-laws, as Patil already owned a site.

The governor, however, without outrightly rejecting Bannurmath for the post, made his opposition known mostly through the media and by writing to the chief minister on November 15, 2011.

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