Karnataka Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao’s son Ashwin was arrested near Hyderabad on Monday, nearly three months after his name figured in an extortion racket that he allegedly ran using his father’s name. The Special Investigation Team that arrested Ashwin has told the Lokayukta court that he will be produced before the judge on Tuesday.
This is the fourth arrest in the last week which includes the Lokayukta public relations officer and joint commissioner Syed Riaz, who was allegedly Ashwin’s principal enforcer. Riaz has been remanded to police custody for interrogation until August 5.
Amid increasing pressure from civil society groups demanding that Bhaskar be sacked by the government, he has been ignoring the protests and is refusing to step down.
“The Lokayukta enjoys a great deal of immunity under the law. It is easy for people to say that the government should sack him but they don’t understand that there is no provision in the law to summarily dismiss him. It’s now time for Bhaskar Rao to take a call of conscience,” said Congress spokesperson Dinesh Gundu Rao.
Lokayukta superintendent of police Sonia Narang broke the scandal on May 7 by disclosing that Ashwin had blackmailed a senior bureaucrat and demanded Rs 1 crore to stop a raid by the anti-corruption police on his properties. Following the discovery, the Lokayukta police found that Ashwin and his accomplices had allegedly extorted nearly Rs 200 crore from more than 100 government officers.
Karnataka Bar Council president PP Hegde demanded that an FIR should also be also registered against Bhaskar Rao.