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K'taka Lokayukta may clarify allegations tomorrow

india Updated: Sep 18, 2011 18:26 IST
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Karnataka Lokayukta Shivaraj V Patil is expected to respond in detail on Monday to allegations of flouting rules in acquisition of plots of land for himself and his wife in Bangalore, amid intense speculation on whether he would quit the post.

Sources close to the former Supreme Court judge, who took over as Lokayukta from Santosh N Hegde six weeks ago, said he is upset and hurt by the charges and claimed that he is contemplating to resign.

Patil, scheduled to address a media conference tomorrow, bought a 9,600 square feet plot allotted by Karnataka State Judicial Department Employees House Building Cooperative Society in 1994 even though he already had built a house.

Two years later, his wife purchased a 4,012 sq ft plot from Vyalikaval House Building Cooperative Society (VHBCS), in violation of house building bye-laws which prohibit members of the same family from obtaining sites separately.

Patil said his wife was allotted the land in an auction by VHBCS, which was selling it to raise money to clear debt, and she surrendered the property through a letter dated September 14 but pointed out that under the circumstances she bought it, the rules (that one should not own any plot in Bangalore) did not apply.

A section of the media today quoted anti-graft activist Anna Hazare as saying that prima-facie, it seems to be a clear-cut case of impropriety and Patil, who served as the one-man committee that went into the processes and procedures followed by the Department of Telecommunications in the allocation of licenses and spectrum between 2001 and 2009, should quit.

Political class in Karnataka is divided on their opinion vis-a-vis the episode, with some saying flouting private housing cooperative society rules is not uncommon and that the controversy should end as his wife has surrendered the plot, while others felt that Patil's moral authority has taken a beating.