Lokayukta 'not doing enough' to get stay on graft cases vacated

Our lawyers need to follow up on pending cases, says Upa Lokayukta

The Lokayukta does not seem to be making serious efforts to get interim stays on investigation into serious cases of corruption vacated.

In a recent case of irregularities at the Chief Accounts Officer’s office in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the Lokayukta police contended before the High Court that under Section 19(3)(c) of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, no court can grant interim stay in cases of corruption which are under investigation.

Investigation in some important cases registered, like those against former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, in connection with illegal de-notification, and against former minister Aravind Limbavali in a case pertaining to irregularities in the DLF project at Hulimavu, have been stayed by the High Court since 2012.

Sources said that eight FIRs registered, based on directions from the Lokayukta Special Court, on private complaints have been stayed. Of this, one case was registered in 2011 (against IAS officer D S Ashwath), five cases in 2012 (against IAS officer Rame Gowda, Adichunchanagiri Mutt, Limbavali, Kumaraswamy and private builder Bhupesh Reddy), one case in 2013 (against IAS officer Rajaneesh Goel over denotification of land in Kengeri) and the recent FIR against Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande.

The recent submission by the Lokayukta police before the High Court came during the hearing of the matter of stay in the case against the Chief Accounts Officer and the superintendent of the Accounts Branch of the BBMP.

The Lokayukta police had searched the Chief Accounts Officer’s office in April and had arrested chief accounts officer Kanakaraju and the superintendent of the Accounts Branch Narayanaswamy.

The accused had filed a petition before the High Court, contending that the case was registered without a complaint. The Lokayukta police have submitted an objection, stating that there was indeed a complaint.

The submission stated that as per Section 19(3)(c), no court could grant interim stay in cases of corruption which are under investigation.

The Section states, “No court shall stay the proceedings under this Act on any other ground and no court shall exercise the powers of revision in relation to any interlocutory order passed in any inquiry, trial, appeal or other proceedings. Apart from the court-referred cases, a trap case registered in 2013 (RTO officer Omkar Murthy) was also stayed.

Upalokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi said that though Section 19(3)(c) does not take away the right of the High Court to pass interim stay in cases under investigation, the Lokayukta institution must take immediate steps to get the stay vacated.
“The advocates representing Lokayukta police need to follow up the cases pending. In fact, when cases get stayed for a long time, it hampers the investigation,” Justice Adi said.

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