‘State to blame for Lokayukta quitting’ | delhi | Hindustan Times
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‘State to blame for Lokayukta quitting’

Karnataka governor H.R. Bhardwaj has held the state BJP government responsible for creating conditions that forced Lokayukta and former Supreme Court judge Justice N. Santosh Hegde to resign.

delhi Updated: Jun 30, 2010 22:52 IST
Nagendar Sharma

Karnataka governor H.R. Bhardwaj has held the state BJP government responsible for creating conditions that forced Lokayukta and former Supreme Court judge Justice N. Santosh Hegde to resign.

In a confidential report sent to the Centre on Monday, Bhardwaj is understood to have cited virtual non-cooperation by the B.S. Yeddyurappa government with the Lokayukta by turning a blind eye to his orders to check corruption.

The governor is learnt to have pointed out that a minister in the state recommended suspension of a senior forest official investigating the alleged disappearance of nearly 5 lakh tonnes of iron ore, seized by the Lokayukta’s team during a raid in March and kept at Bellikeri port.

The report followed a conversation between Home Minister P. Chidambaram and the governor. Asked if the Centre had sought a report specifically on the Lokayukta issue, Bhardwaj’s office replied: “It is a part of the ongoing interaction between the Centre and its representative, the governor.”

The governor has referred to the widespread public resentment against the resignation of Justice Hegde. “The governor has been receiving numerous representations at all public functions attended by him to reject Justice Hegde’s resignation. People are telling him to save the state by persuading the Lokayukta to continue,” said a Raj Bhawan official.

The governor has specifically mentioned the state government’s blunt refusal to even speak to the Lokayukta to persuade him to stay.

In his report, Bhardwaj mentioned the state government’s lack of interest in the proper functioning of the Lokayukta’s office, which, according to the governor, was not even given enough staff.

The governor is understood to have praised Justice Hegde’s crusade against corruption since he took over the post in August 2006.

Justice Hegde conducted more than 100 raids and caught several officers with disproportionate assets. But due to the government’s reluctance to prosecute, only a small percentage of them have been convicted, according to the governor.