Deve Gowda asks civil society members not to quit drafting panel

Gowda said he was "pained to learn from media reports that Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde is reconsidering his decision to be on the committee."

Criticizing the "forces trying to sideline the real issue of rampant corruption," Gowda said it was not fair to question the honesty and the integrity" of the members after formation of the committee.

"All these allegations are to sideline the issue of bringing a very powerful weapon (against corruption). The issue should not be sidelined," he said.

Describing corruption "a cancerous disease", Gowda said it was Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa who tried to "clip the wings" of Justice Santosh Hegde from taking action against his corrupt dispensation.

"In Karnataka, the Lokayukta cannot move without the prior permission of the government," Gowda alleged.

"Hon’ble Justice Hegde has never hesitated from calling a spade a spade and he remains an outstanding crusader against corruption, whether it be committed by the BJP government in Karnataka or the UPA government at the Centre," he said.

"It is my humble appeal to one and all, including the media, not to derail this great golden opportunity to draft and bring about a much-needed and highly effective Lokpal Bill by raising petty issues, totally irrelevant to the ongoing process," he said.

"Any such attempt to divert the focus from the Bill, which has been pending for over four decades, would only serve to strengthen the hands of the vested interests, who want to dilute the process," he added.

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