SC tells ex-Lokayukta, others to face trial in extortion case

SC tells ex-Lokayukta, others to face trial in extortion case

The Supreme Court on Monday directed former Lokayukta Justice Bhaskar Rao to face trial along with his son Ashwin and others in a case of extortion run through his office during his tenure in 2015.

The apex court dismissed a plea by Justice Rao against summons issued to him in the case. “Go and face trial,” a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Naveen Sinha told senior advocate P P Rao, appearing for the former Lokayukta.

The court also declined to consider his plea for exemption from personal appearance before the trial court.

Rao, 78, challenged the Karnataka HC’s November 22, 2016 order that had dismissed his petition, seeking quashing of a supplementary charge sheet filed as well as summons issued against him.

His counsel contended that the HC had failed to consider that as a former judge, he was granted protection against prosecution under the Judges (Protection) Act.

He submitted that the HC had failed to appreciate that a plea by social worker Allam Pasha for prosecuting Justice Rao as accused in the case also stood dismissed by the Bengaluru’s trial court on January 14 last, on the ground that there was no prima facie material against him.

The counsel said the special investigation team did not name him in its charge sheet, but preferred to include his name in a supplementary charge sheet. He questioned the sanction granted for Justice Rao’s prosecution by the Governor, saying it was granted without the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
The bench, however, remained unmoved, telling Rao’s counsel, “We are unconvinced with your arguments”.

The counsel pleaded for granting exemption to Justice Rao from appearing in person before the trial court. He also pleaded for a direction to the trial court not to be influenced by the HC order. The court rejected this plea too. “So far as the plea for exemption from personal appearance is concerned, we leave the matter to the trial court,” the bench said.
DH News Service

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