Karnataka Upa Lokayukta (deputy ombudsman) R Gururajan on late Wednesday quit citing "personal reasons" but speculation mounted he did so to avoid possible row over owning more than two houses in Bangalore.
Gururajan, a retired judge of the Karnataka high court, has submitted his resignation to the governor. "He is resigning for personal reasons," a Lokayukta spokesperson said.
Gururajan's resignation has come around three weeks after Lokayukta Shivaraj Patil resigned following a row over acquiring two house sites in Bangalore from two housing societies allegedly in violation of rules.
Though Gururajan cited "personal reasons" for quitting, speculation is he wants to avoid landing in a controversy like Patil which forced the latter to quit under a cloud.
Gururajan's assets, as declared by him after taking over as Upa Lokayukta Aug 3, show that he bought a residential plot in Karnataka Judicial Employees Housing Society in 2001 though owning two houses in Bangalore, one of it on lease from another housing society.
Gururajan valued the land at the Judicial Employees Housing Society and the building he has constructed on it at Rs. 2.3 million.
Patil quit because he bought a house plot in his wife's name from a private housing society in Bangalore though he owned a house and also a plot from the Judicial Employees Housing Society.
Housing Society rules do not allow any person to get site or flat if they own a house or plot in the same city.
The Judicial Employees Housing Society is mired in controversies over allotment of plots. The issue had gone up to Supreme Court which had ruled that there was no violation of rules in the allotments made.
Patil had cited this while quitting Sep 13 and blamed media for carrying on "malicious campaign" against him.
Patil and Gururajan took office Aug 3. Patil, a retired judge of the Supreme Court resigned Sep 19.
With the resignation of Gururajan the state now has one Upa Lokayukta in SB Majage, a retired judge of the Karnataka high court.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government of chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda will now have to look for two retired judges to fill the posts.
Only retired Supreme Court judge or retired high court chief justice can be appointed Lokayukta. Upa Lokayukta can be a retired high court judge. Gowda has said the process to select a successor to Patil was on but "will take some time as it is a sensitive matter."
Bhardwaj has indicated he prefers a retired Supreme Court judge as the new Lokayukta.