K'taka lokayukta resigns; says post lacks adequate powers
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K'taka lokayukta resigns; says post lacks adequate powers

In a sudden development, Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde today resigned from his post complaining that he did not have adequate powers to take to logical conclusion cases pursued by his agency.

india Updated: Jun 24, 2010 00:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Karnataka Lokayukta N. Santosh Hedge has resigned from his post, accusing the state government of failing to recognise the institution’s authority and not granting him suo motu powers to investigate charges against corrupt officers.

The resignation will be effective from August 31, a year before his five-year term ends.

Ombudsman Justice (Retired) Hegde has conducted more than 100 successful raids and caught several officers with disproportionate assets. But due to the BJP government’s reluctance to prosecute them, only a small percentage of them have been convicted, he said.

Hegde, who had waged a war against the powerful illegal mining lobby and corrupt officials, claimed that the government deliberately overruled his recommendations.

His report on illegal iron ore excavation had turned the heat on powerful mining barons and Karnataka ministers Janardhan Reddy and Karunakar Reddy.

“The government has ignored or deliberately overruled my recommendations and shown its indifference towards functioning of the Lokayukta,” he told reporters after submitting his resignation to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Wednesday.

Suspensions of several officials had also been arbitrarily revoked, hampering investigations against them, he said.

For the last six months, Hegde had been asking for a deputy but the government ignored his repeated requests. “This affected the outcome of more than 9,000 cases,” Hegde said.

Hegde cited probes conducted by his officials against the mining lobby and claimed that an honest officer was penalised after a Karnataka minister sought action against him.

“I feel helpless... useless. I could not even protect my own officers of those who have done excellent work,” he said.

Merely catching dishonest persons will not eradicate corruption. The cases should reach their logical conclusion, he said.

First Published: Jun 23, 2010 21:35 IST