Santosh Hedge for CBI probe into Karnataka Lokayukta graft case
Bengaluru: The demand for a CBI probe into corruption charges in the Karnataka Lokayukta intensified on Saturday, with former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde seeking inquiry by CBI.
Hegde today alleged that attempts were being made to destroy evidence about suspected extortion racket in the ombudsman’s office and questioned the government’s reluctance to give the case to CBI, saying it was not serious about getting at the truth.
As public pressure for the resignation of Lokayukta Bhaskar Rao over alleged involvement of his son in the racket grew, Hegde said, “Bundles after bundles (of files) are going to his (lokayukta’s) house..” “I was Lokayukta for five years. I did not take bundles home. This is an indicator of the fact that evidence is being destroyed,” Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge who as Lokayukta had made a mark for tough action on graft, told PTI.
Hegde said, “all these facts indicate that Justice Rao is guilty of abetment which is punishable with the same punishment which is applicable for other offences such as extortion, cheating and bribery.
Obviously a person who doesn’t gain from all this would have cooperated with investigation.”
Rao, a former High Court Chief Justice, is facing heat over the alleged scandal that has rocked the Lokayukta office with the Opposition demanding his resignation and a CBI probe into the issue and demonstrations being held daily by various groups demanding his exit.
An unfazed Rao has dismissed the charges, saying he would quit if they were proved.
Hegde also questioned the government’s expression of inability to hand over the case to the CBI.
“I don’t know whether they – Siddaramaiah (Chief Minister) and Home Minister K J George – have read the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act which empowers them to hand over the case to CBI,” he said.
Hegde said the government is not serious in getting to the truth, as otherwise it would have handed over the case to the central investigating agency.”