SIT arrests Ashwin's close aide

SIT arrests Ashwin's close aide

 The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing into the charges of corruption in the Lokayukta office on Wednesday arrested V Bhaskar, a self-proclaimed journalist and close associate of Yerabati Ashwin — the son of Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao — and suspended Joint Commissioner (PRO) Syed Riyaz.

Bhaskar is accused of being involved in several instances of extortion within the Lokayukta office. The SIT had intensified surveillance on Bhaskar, alias “420 Bhaskar”, ever since it took up the case. Bhaskar had appeared before a news channel and admitted to large-scale corruption and extortion in the Lokayukta. He had also confessed to his association with Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao and his son Y Ashwin.

With the arrest of Bhaskar, more cases of extortion against the name of Ashwin and Riyaz are expected to surface. Sources said Bhaskar was involved in calling up senior officials from Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), especially from the planning division, Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA), Deputy Director of Land Records (DDLR), Mines and Geology, Minor and Major Irrigation Departments and revenue offices, including Urban and Rural DC offices.

Bhaskar is one of the accused who introduced himself as “Krishna Rao” and claimed to be a friend of Ashwin and personal secretary to Lokayukta Justice Rao. He has made calls to hundreds of officials, including IAS and KAS, mainly from two numbers– 9341220014 and 8884936560.

The modus operandi was to call the official and say, “The Lokayukta wants to meet you.” Once the official obliges, Bhaskar would drop the names of a few officials who have paid already and escaped raid or got their cases closed. He would arrange the meeting of the official with Ashwin, either at the official residence of the Lokayukta on Crescent Road or at some star hotel.

Sources said that from calling the target official, till receiving money, Bhaskar played a major role in the racket. Bhaskar has reportedly acquired prime assets in the City and also in Kolar district.

‘Newspaper editor’

“Bhaskar used to run a vernacular newspaper and sometimes claimed to be the editor of the newspaper. He would get information about the works authorised by BBMP engineers and extort money from them by threatening to publish news highlighting corruption in those works. Sometime ago, an engineer from BBMP had filed a case against Bhaskar for extortion in Ulsoorgate police station. This case is under investigation,” an official said.

This apart, Lokayukta SP Sonia Narang had filed a complaint against Bhaskar for making derogatory comments against her in a mobile conversation, which was telecast in a TV channel.

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