Karnataka’s former anti-graft ombudsman Y Bhaskar Rao has been chargesheeted in a corruption case in connection with an alleged extortion racket involving his son. This is the first such action against a former Lokayukta in the country.
Rao, named as the seventh accused, has been charged with abetting illegal gratification to influence a public servant, concealing evidence and being part of a criminal conspiracy to cover up and protect the offenders. He is a former high court chief justice.
His son Y Ashwin is the prime accused in the alleged extortion racket that was being run in the Lokayukta office, with subsequent public and opposition outcry causing the exit of Rao as the head of the anti-graft institution.
Various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, have been invoked, including Section 8 (taking gratification, in order, by corrupt or other means, to influence public servant.)
Under the IPC, he has been charged invoking sections 120 (b) relating to punishment for criminal conspiracy and Section 119 about public servant concealing design to commit offence which it is his duty to prevent.
Also, IPC section 385 (putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion) and Section 419 (punishment for cheating by personation) have been slapped against Rao in the supplementary chargesheet filed by the Special Investigation Team in the Special Lokayukta court in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
“We have filed a chargesheet against Bhaskar Rao as the seventh accused in the case. His son is Ashwin and is the first accused,” SIT chief Kamalpant told PTI on Thursday.
Governor Vajubhai Vala had recently given the nod to the SIT to prosecute Rao in the case, which is one of the five pertaining to the alleged extortion scandal. SIT is expected to seek governor’s permission for his prosecution in the remaining cases too.
The alleged scam came to light after the then Lokayukta,superintendent of police, Sonia Narang wrote a letter to Lokayukta Registrar about the complaint she received from an executive engineer, who alleged that someone from the Lokayukta office demanded Rs one crore in bribe to avoid a raid.
Resisting all attempts for his exit, Rao had resigned in December 2015 only after a motion to remove him was moved in the State legislature.
Ashwin was arrested by SIT in Hyderabad in July last year based on an FIR filed against him by Lokayukta police.
After Rao’s resignation, the post of Lokayukta has remained vacant as the governor had rejected the name of SR Nayak proposed by the state government.
The government is yet to finalise another candidate.