Mangaluru: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) has arrested the Karnataka Lokayukta Bhasker Rao’s son Ashwin Rao for his involvement in extortion carried out from Bhasker Rao’s office and this is a good move by the SIT, said the Chairman of the State Bar Council P P Hegde in a press meet held at Takshila, Ballalbagh here, on July 27.
Addressing the mediapersons, P P Hegde said that, Lokayukta Bhasker Rao’s son has been arrested by the team led by DCP Labhu Ram in Aurangabad, Maharashtra and that he would be brought to Bengaluru. The Bar council appreciated the initiative in arresting the accused. “In the first week of July, we had protested for the arrest of the Lokayukta and his son, but the police have now arrested only Ashwin on July 27. All the money that Ashwin has collected from different people should be investigated. The police have delayed in arresting Ashwin, causing a delay in the investigation which might have helped the culprits to destroy evidence. Sonia Narang’s primary report revealed that Rs 120 crore had been collected by Ashwin in one year. Only one case has been registered against Ashwin by Krishnamurthy. To investigate the case, a Special investigation Team was formed but their intention was to dismiss the case. But Narang’s report forced the SIT leader Kamal Panth and Investigation officer Labhu Ram, who is a transparent officer, to arrest Ashwin Rao in Maharashtra,” he said.
He continued, saying that after Narang’s report was revealed, attempts have been made to defame her. “Narang has all the details about this corruption case. Attempts will be made to give Ashwin bail as soon as he is brought to Bengaluru. In Andra Pradesh,Ashwin’s wife had filed a case against Ashwin for domestic violence. Bhasker Rao had then pressurized Ahswin’s wife to withdraw the case. Now there are 23 others cases against Ashwin, but so far no FIR has been registered. All the cases should be brought before the Justice in Bengaluru. In front of the media, the police should seize all the documents from Bhaskar Rao’s house. Police should take Ashwin Rao into their custody for further investigation and he should be subjected to at Narco analysis test to know the reality. The government is trying not to register other cases against Ashwin. For all the 23 cases, Ashwin should be taken to custody and FIR should be registered in all the 23 cases.”
He further said, “Justice Bhasker Rao is acting like he is innocent. Bhasker Rao is the main accused in this case. Bhasker Rao had bribed to get the post of the Lokayukta. He had sent Rs 10 crore through the Liquor baron from Andhra Pradesh Adi Keshav to the concerned authorities. Justice Santhosh Hegde had already briefed the media in this regard. The Bar Council had also requested the concerned authorities not to appoint Bhasker Rao as Lokayukta. We need to know who had appointed him.”
On July 26, Joint Commissioner (PRO) Syed Riyaz was arrested on the charges of corruption by the SIT. By arresting Ashwin, so far the SIT has arrested 7 persons in connection to this case. Even though Ashwin is the main accused, Bhasker Rao should also be considered as the main accused and should be arrested as soon as possible. Giving and taking bribe are both crimes and so both of them are equally responsible for the crime. Bhasker Rao is still in the Lokayukta post because he is trying to destroy the evidence. When it was made known that he failed to react to Sonia Narang’s report,Bhasker Rao contacted many people. The records of all the telephone calls and other information should be collected.”
Hegde also said that Bhasker Rao was preparing a list of senior officers with graft cases against them if they did not pay him and was revealing the names to Ashwin. “After getting the names, Ashwin and Riyaz were calling these senior officers and were collecting money from them. If they did not agree, they would be threatened. As soon as the people who are in the raid list pay the money, Ashwin and Riyaz would inform Bhasker Rao and he would not raid them. Because of the direct involvement of BhaskerRao in the extortion case, he is the main accused and the Bar Council urges the concerned authorities to arrest him as soon as possible.”
Hegde further said that Rao is afraid that if he resigns from the post, he may get arrested. But according to the Prevention of Corruption Act, if the Lokayukta is involved in corruption, the police have the right to arrest him and take action against him.
While concluding, Hegde said that all political leaders, keeping party differences aside, should join hands to curb corruption and anyone if found involved in corruption, whether he is a Justice, judge or Lokayukta, should be punished.