Madikeri: The ongoing campaign against Lokayukta Justice Bhaskar Rao and his son Ashwin is being propped up by some political leaders. But the very same leaders, when they were in power, did not exactly cover themselves with glory nor did they function like paragons of virtue, say observers.
They feel that at least three former chief ministers have been spearheading the attack not because they are the champions of probity and integrity in public life but they have been facing cases filed by the Lokayukta in land denotification. It could be a fine opportunity for them to get even with the institution and also to weaken it in order to protect themselves.
Former BJP leader and legal luminary A K Subbaiah, who does not fail to see the other side of the coin when analysing issues and events, was forthright when he addressed mediapersons here last week.
He squarely termed the campaign against Justice Rao as a blatant attempt to sabotage the set-up and functioning of the institution of Lokayukta. While saying there were no two words that a thorough probe into the case was necessary, it was also incorrect to depict Justice Bhaskar Rao as being guilty much before a formal inquiry was held.
The institution of Lokayukta lay inactive in other states like Gujarat. Only in Karnataka it was vibrant and proactive. The only motive of some of the campaigners was to sabotage it, according to Subbaiah.
Pointing out that Lokayukta being autonomous, he said that the state government could not intervene in the matter. There was no clear-cut guideline as to who should probe into it when Lokayukta faced charges, Subbaiah said.
He felt that it was right and proper on the part of the government to have set up a special investigation team (SIT). It would be in the fitness of things to wait for its report. But some vested interests were using this episode to settle an score with chief minister Siddaramaiah.
Subbaiah further said that the individual called Krishna Murty who had complained to Lokayukta SP Sonia Narang should also be examined and the veracity of his complaint ascertained.
Replying to another question, he opined that Justice Subhash B Adi, the Upa Lokayukta, could have avoided venting his views in public and to the media. Such actions could only bring about fissures within the institution, making it difficult for it function, he said.
Commenting on former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde’s opinion that Justice Rao should resign since an FIR had been filed against his son, Subbaiah wanted to know as to why similar demands for resignation were not made with regard to former PM Deve Gowda and state JD(S) president Kumaraswamy.
He further pointed out that during the Lokayukta tenure of Justice Hegde, allegations of corruption within that institution had been heard but he took no action on that occasion.
In the meantime, state governor Vajubhai Vala is understood to have stepped in and sought a full report on the case from the Lokayukta. Some media reports say that he has asked Justice Rao to proceed on a month’s leave.