Govt trying to take control of Lokayukta, says BJP

Govt trying to take control of Lokayukta, says BJP

The BJP has accused the State government of trying to take control of the Lokayukta institution by appointing an IAS officer as the registrar of the anti-corruption body.

Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, Jagadish Shettar, told reporters in Bengaluru on Saturday that appointing an IAS officer as the registrar of the Lokayukta was unprecedented. Rules stipulate that the registrar of the Lokayukta should be from the judicial cadre. Shettar said the government had even bypassed a recommendation made by a Karnataka High Court committee that Principal City Civil and Sessions Judge Narendra Kumar Basavaraj Gunaki be appointed to the post.

The government on Thursday had passed an order appointing IAS officer P C Jaffer as the registrar of the Lokayukta.

Shettar said there were four deputy registrars and 11 assistant registrars in the Lokayukta and several of them were sitting judges. “Sitting judges cannot be working under or reporting to an IAS officer,” he said. The intention of the government is to take control of the Lokayukta, he added.

He said there were 820 complaints against different IAS officers during 2014-15 and there would be a conflict of interest if an officer of the civil service itself was appointed the Lokayukta registrar. Besides, there were complaints of irregularities against Jaffer when he was the deputy commissioner of Mandya district, he said. He demanded that the appointment order be withdrawn immediately.

He also demanded that the government declare 125 taluks, which had received deficient rainfall, as “drought hit” and waive the interest on loans taken by farmers.
‘Chief secy a broker?’

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy, criticising Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee, said the top officer was acting like a broker with regard to the appointment of IAS officer Jaffer as the registrar of the Lokayukta.

“What does he mean by saying the matter will be amicably settled with the High Court chief justice? Is he a broker?” he asked.

He also attacked the government for appointing Jaffer as registrar “against whom there are many allegations.”

On the ongoing investigation into the extortion racket in the Lokayukta, he said there was no clue about the whereabouts of the documents cleared from the Lokayukta’s office. “Is it at the chief minister’s residence, or is it at Home Minister K J George’s residence?” he wondered, demanding an explanation from George.
He said he was ready to face action if he was found guilty.

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