Guv's office seeks report on plaints against Sham Bhatt

The governor’s office has written to the Registrar of the Lokayukta, seeking details of complaints against Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) commissioner T Sham Bhatt, who has been recommended by the government for appointment as member of Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC).

The government, on May 18, 2016, had forwarded the name of Bhatt, a 1992 batch IAS officer, along with Lakshminarasaiah, Joint Commissioner of BBMP (West) and Syed Ahmed Khan, Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Tax, for appointment as KPSC members.

Sources said that the communication from the Raj Bhavan has sought details about the complaints filed against Bhatt till date and their status. An official said that a report on the status of various complaints against Bhatt will be sent to the Raj Bhavan soon.

“Several complaints are still under scrutiny as the post of Lokayukta is vacant for the last six months. In one complaint, a report under Section 12(3) of Lokayukta Act has been submitted to the government, while around 10 other complaints were closed between 2014 and 2015,” the official said. According to the details available in the Lokayukta website, more than 10 complaints against Bhatt are pending and at the scrutiny stage, while 11 complaints were closed between 2014 and 2015. Janaadhikaara Sangharsha Parishath (JSP), an NGO, had released the database of the complaints against IAS officers in the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta some time ago.

The database was released when the corruption and extortion scam by a group led by Yerabati Ashwin, son of former Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao, had surfaced in June 2015. The database revealed that there were around 820 complaints against top IAS officers between January 2014 and June 2015. Of these complaints, more than 500 complaints were closed during the tenure of Justice Rao. These include three complaints, suo motu taken up by Justice Rao, against Bhatt. All the three complaints, pertaining to the loss caused to the exchequer, were filed on February 28, 2014 and closed on April 14, 2014.

Interestingly, a complaint against Lakshminarasiah is pending as under scrutiny, as per the website. However, the communication from the Raj Bhavan pertains only to complaints against the BDA commissioner, a source said.

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