Former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde on Monday criticised appointment of a lower-grade Lokayukta officer to investigate alleged involvement of former chief ministers SM Krishna, HD Kumaraswamy and Dharam Singh in illegal mining activities in Karnataka during their tenure.
"It is unfortunate that a report prepared by a former Supreme Court judge (Hegde himself) on illegal mining in the state is being investigated by Lokayukta deputy superintendent of Police among others ... This is not correct," he told reporters on the sidelines of his felicitation function here.
The Investigation has been entrusted to a team led by SM Jagadeesh Prasad (Tumkur Lokayukta SP). Other officers are Chitradurga Lokayukta deputy SP MR Sannathimmappa and Davangere inspector TG Sridhar Shastry.
On Dec 8 an FIR was registered against external affairs minister SM Krishna and two other former chief ministers by Lokayukta Police on a private complaint alleging that they facilitated illegal mining during their tenure.
Hegde alleged that the state government does not have the will to act on his report, which he said would ultimately go to the Supreme Court, which would decide its probity.
He referred to action taken by Andhra Pradesh and Goa against illegal mining in their states, based on his report. "Sadly the Karnataka government is silent over it. I think they do not have belief in me or the Lokayukta," he quipped.
"The government should take action on my report as I have laboured hard to give shape to it," Hegde said.
He, however, said it was not mandatory for the government to accept his report, which had raised a storm after it indicted former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa.
Hegde said expressing views publicly on issues discussed in Parliament does not amount to insulting it."It is the people's right to speak on any issue debated in Parliament.The Constitution has given this right under Art.19(1A). How can anyone say it is wrong?" he asked.
Hegde expressed happiness over Opposition parties supporting social activist Anna Hazare's quest to bring a strong Lokpal Bill in Parliament. "It is a good development," he added.