Govt ignored pleas for security: Justice Hegde
Bengaluru: The incident of a man stabbing Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanath Shetty inside the latter’s chamber at his office in the M S Building on Wednesday has exposed glaring lapses in security at the building located close to the Vidhana Soudha.
Though a door-frame metal detector (DFMD) has been installed at the entrance of the building, it has not been working for the last three years, a Lokayukta employee told DH. If the DFMD would have detected Tejraj Sharma’s metal knife, an incident like this could have been averted, the staff added.
Moreover, there are no baggage scanners or physical frisking of members of the public who enter the building in large numbers.
“Doors of the autonomous institution of the Lokayukta are open for any members of the public who wants to report or lodge a complaint about corruption in government offices, but not for those who walk in with weapons. Security should be tight at such institutions, which deal with corruption cases,” said Saji Malayil, a senior advocate.
The Lokayukta institution was in the eye of a storm when after corruption allegations were made against the previous Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao. He had to finally step down as his son Y Ashwin and some Lokayukta employees were accused of using the Lokayukta office for running an extortion racket and were arrested.
Soon after the brouhaha, multiple CCTV cameras were installed at the Lokayukta office and the entrance reception desk was revamped with compulsory register entry and other surveillance measures. But, security measures were not looked into, sources said.
Former Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde, after visiting an injured Justice Shetty at the hospital, told reporters that during his tenure he had brought this to the notice of the state government and had written at least 20 letters to them to install a new DFMD and deploy more number of security personnel. But,there was not even an acknowledgement.
“I also came to know that this man (Tejraj) had been frequenting the Lokayukta office over the last three-four days, which I assume is for getting prepared for the crime that he was going to commit,” said Justice Hegde. “If these were true, then it amounts to negligence and an inquiry needs to be conducted in this regard,” he added.
The state government’s callous attitude towards this autonomous institution is a major matter of concern,” Justice Hegde added.
CM directs top cop to take up probe
Bengaluru: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday directed state police chief Neelamani N Raju to probe the assault on Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanath Shetty and also ascertain whether a security lapse led to the incident.
“I have asked the DG&IGP to take up a comprehensive inquiry. If there are security lapses, I have said that there should be immediate action,” Siddaramaiah told reporters at Mallya Hospital after visiting Justice Shetty. “It seems like the assailant had the intention to kill, given that he was carrying quite a big knife.”
At the Cabinet meeting, Siddaramaiah is said to have told his ministerial colleagues that the assault on Justice Shetty was a serious breach of security. Raising the issue in the meeting, Siddaramaiah said such incidents dent the image of the state and that they should not occur again. According to sources, he instructed Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, Law Minister T B Jayachandra and Chief Secretary K Ratna Prabha to meet on Thursday to review security.
Attack on Lokayukta: BJP, JD(S) slam govt over ‘lawlessness’ in state
Bengaluru: Opposition parties, the BJP and the JD(S) on Wednesday came down heavily on the state government for the attack on Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanth Shetty, saying that law and order had completely collapsed in the state.
BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa said the incident was yet another example of “lawlessness” in the state. “That one gets the courage to attack the Lokayukta itself shows how bad the situation is in the state,” he stated.
Expressing shock over the attack on Shetty, JD(S) national president and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda said that Karnataka had become a ‘goonda raj’ under the Siddaramaiah government.
“If a judge can be stabbed in broad daylight like this, one wonders where we are living. Is this a goonda raj? On one hand the government weakened the Lokayukta – now this. When the government can’t even protect the Lokayukta, how can it protect the people of the state,” he stated.
Later, Gowda visited Justice Shetty at the hospital where he is being treated upon.
BJP leader R Ashoka demanded that the Centre should impose President’s rule in the state.JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy said the President’s rule should have been imposed five to six months ago itself. “If that had happened, we wouldn’t be in such a situation today. Both the BJP and the Congress are responsible for such lawlessness in the state today,” he said.
He also said that ever since the Congress came to power, there had been continued attacks on bureaucrats and police officials. “Now a judge has been attacked. CM should take complete responsibility for this.