Karnataka lokayukta stabbed inside Bengaluru office, attacker arrested

Tejaraj Sharma, a private contractor from Tumakuru, has been arrested for stabbing Karnataka lokayukta justice P Vishwanath Shetty four times.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2018 21:21 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Karnataka Lokayukta,Karnataka Lokayukta stabbed,Bengaluru
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah greets lokayukta Justice P Vishwanath Shetty and his wife during the swearing in ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru.(PTI File Photo)

Karnataka’s lokayukta Vishwanath Shetty was stabbed and injured at his office in Bengaluru on Wednesday, allegedly by a man angry over the anti-graft official’s refusal to entertain his complaint, police said.

Shetty, who sustained four stab wounds, is said to be out of danger at a local hospital where chief minister Siddaramaiah met him shortly after the incident.

The accused, identified as Tejaraj Sharma, was arrested after he was overpowered by employees of the lokayukta’s office.

Sharma, 33, a private furniture supplier from Tumakuru in southeast Karnataka, was said to be angry with the lokayukta who allegedly did not heed his complaints about a local government office, police said. Sharma said he was not awarded contracts because of suspected corruption in the office.

“During interrogation he (Sharma) revealed that the lokayukta police dismissed his complaints as untrue,” police commissioner T Suneel Kumar said at a press briefing.

“He had visited the office around four times in the the past. It was premeditated and, hence, we have registered a case of attempted murder,” Kumar said.

Accused Tejas Sharma being taken out of the Karnataka lokayukta’s office in Bengaluru on Wednesday. (ANI Twitter)

The commissioner added that a metal detector in the lobby of the building was not functioning and the gunman provided to the lokayukta was waiting outside the cabin.

The office register showed Sharma entering the government complex, known as the Multi-storey Building, at around 12.45pm to meet the lokayukta, which is tasked with probing corruption charges against public servants.

An employee in the lokayukta office, who did not wish to be named, said she heard screams from Shetty’s chamber around 1.45 pm. Staff rushed into the room immediately and the gunman overpowered Sharma.

A former Karnataka high court judge, Shetty took over as the anti-corruption ombudsman in January 2017 amid allegations by activists who accused him of corruption. His family had allegedly amassed a large number of properties.

The governor had given his go-ahead for Shetty’s appointment after seeking clarifications from the government.

The southern state remained without a lokayukta following the unceremonious exit of justice Y Bhaskar Rao (retired) in December 2015. His tenure was marred by allegations of corruption and extortion.

BJP leader and Union minister Ananth Kumar blamed the Congress government for Wednesday’s incident.

“It is unfortunate that in broad daylight, there has been a murderous attack on the lokayukta...This incident shows the deteriorating law and order situation in Karnataka,” Kumar said.

In Delhi, another Union minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, too termed the incident “a serious issue of law and order”.

First Published: Mar 07, 2018 14:47 IST