Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde on Friday ruled himself out to be the chairman of the proposed committee to draft an effective Lokpal Bill as favoured by social activist Anna Hazare, who is on a fast-unto-death protest over corruption issue.
Mr. Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge known for his vigorous campaign against corruption, said former Chief Justice of India J.S. Verma, Mr. Hazare’s other choice, would be the most ideal person for the post.
“No I do not think it will be right for me to chair the joint committee,” Mr. Hegde said, noting his role in drafting the earlier Lokpal Bill and supporting Mr. Hazare in his fight against graft might invite allegations of being biased and prejudiced.
“I think Justice J.S. Verma is the most ideal person to chair the joint committee,” he told PTI in Bangalore.
Amid the stalemate over his demand for setting up a joint committee of government and civil society to draft the Lokpal Bill, Mr. Hazare on Friday suggested to the government to consider the names of Justice Verma or Mr. Hegde to head the panel.
Mr. Hazare, whose fast entered the fourth day on Friday, has rejected the government’s suggestion that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee be the chairman of the committee.
On Mr. Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, Mr. Hegde said, “I think it is moving in the right direction. The government has been offering lame excuses on the issue for the last 40 years.”
He said he himself had always spoken against corruption and backed all actions that could root it out.
Mr. Hegde said he had not met Mr. Hazare but had known him through his work and mission.