Lokayukta, deputy wrestle over probe

Lokayukta, deputy wrestle over probe

State govt forms SIT; Justice Adi tells Narang to proceed with enquiry

Lokayukta, deputy wrestle over probe

The tussle between the Lokayukta and the Upalokayukta over the probe into allegations of corruption in the anti-graft body intensified on Tuesday.

While Upalokayukta Justice Subash B Adi directed SP (Lokayukta) Sonia Narang to proceed with the probe as per his order issued on June 23, the State government constituted a Special Investigation team (SIT) to probe the matter as requested by Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao.

Additional Director-General of Police (Prisons) Kamal Pant will head the SIT and no time frame has been set for completion of the investigation. The SIT will probe extortion threats to Executive Engineer Krishnamurthy and other related cases.

On Tuesday, Justice Adi held discussion with Narang on the order issued by the Lokayukta on Monday to stop the investigation.

Taking serious exception to Justice Rao’s move, the Upalokayukta issued a fresh order stating: “This clarification is issued in the light of the alleged letter stated to have been issued by the Lokayukta to the investigating officer. I hereby once again direct you (Sonia Narang) to continue with the investigation.”

‘Order beyond question’

The order further stated: “It appears that objections were raised against my exercising power on the basis of the complaint in respect of Bengaluru Urban district. No doubt, for administrative purpose the jurisdiction of Bengaluru Urban district though not vested on me, but investigation on the complaint even in respect of a district not assigned to me is no bar under the provisions of section 7 (3) proviso Karnataka Lokayukta Act, and it is not open to question by anyone.

“The orders or directions issued by me are binding on the subordinate officers and they are not appealable to the Lokayukta or anyone in this institution. It could only be questioned before the division bench of the Karnataka High Court.”

Meanwhile, a former Upalokayukta said that with two contradictory orders and subsequent handing over of the probe to the SIT, the Lokayukta police may continue with the enquiry.

“The SIT cannot take over the investigation unless an FIR is registered because it does not have the status of a police station. Unless an FIR is registered, the investigation cannot be handed over to SIT,” said the former Upalokayukta.