'Only Lokayukta will decide chief of SIT on mining'

 Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao asserted on Thursday that the anti-corruption ombudsman and not the State government will decide who will head the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up to investigate illegal mining in Karnataka.

Referring to the ongoing discussion in the government on naming the SIT chief, Justice Rao told reporters: “Lokayukta is an independent body and it will decide who should head the team, as it is investigating the cases.”

Replying to a question as to when the SIT would get down to work, he said a letter had been written to the chief secretary, seeking allotment of an office for the SIT. It has been suggested that the SIT could operate out of a building at the University of Agricultural Science (UAS) campus in Hebbal, Bangalore.

“(In this regard), we have written to the UAS vice-chancellor as well as the Governor (who is the chancellor of all varsities in the State).”

Justice Rao further said investigation offices would be opened soon in Tumkur, Chitradurga and Bellary. The special courts, set up at the respective places, would hear the cases. Permission in this regard would be sought from the government, he added.

PSOs in 12 cases

The Lokayukta also said Prosecution Sanction Orders (PSOs) against government officers accused of corruption had been received in just 12 cases. “We had sought PSOs in 94 cases as of December, 2013, but received them in just 12 cases as of February 6, 2014. We now await PSOs in the 82 remaining cases,” he said.

As many as 23 PSOs are being awaited for more than a year and 20 for six months to a year.

When the Lokayukta was asked about the delay in issuing the PSOs, he stressed that any request for PSO must be disposed of within three months, as per an order of the Supreme Court. “A copy of the judgment has also been given to the government,” he said.

A year after he took charge as the Lokayukta, 4,736 complaints of the total 5,661 had been disposed, Justice Rao added.

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