Bhardwaj keen on SC ex-judge as Lokayukta

Governor Hansraj Bhardwaj is said to be keen that an eminent former judge of the Supreme Court should succeed Justice Santhosh Hegde as Lokayukta.

According to sources in the Secretariat, the governor had said that the advice of Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda to appoint Justice Bannurmath as the head of the anti-graft agency was without merit and that it went against certain norms laid down by the country’s top court in the context of maintaining the integrity and independence of the institution.

All the Lokayuktas in the recent past had been distinguished former judges of the Supreme Court and it was during the tenure of these distinguished persons that the Lokayukta of Karnataka had acquired its present stature and gained the confidence and trust of the people of the State, the governor had reportedly said.

The governor is also learnt to have criticised the transfers of ADGP Jeevan Kumar Gaonkar and DIG Pranob Mohanty, when several important cases pertaining to a former chief minister of Karnataka and a few ministers of this government were pending investigation before the Lokayukta police.

He complained about prosecution of cases in the Lokayukta not being conducted with desired standards. Sources said the governor had insisted that Justice Hegde’s report must be dealt with on merit, and the person to be appointed should also be a former Supreme Court judge to ensure fair investigation. Hence, there was no reason to insist on a particular name who does not inspire confidence, the governor had said.

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