Told he can't hold two posts, Acharya prefers to stay as prosecutor
The BJP government in Karnataka suffered another setback on Wednesday, with Advocate-General B.V. Acharya preferring to resign from his post rather than give in to “pressure” from the State government to quit as Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) in the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
Talking to The Hindu, he said: “For some time, there has been terrible pressure on me to resign from the position of SPP, and I have been resisting it.”
Mr. Acharya said the State government had recently asked him to resign as SPP, stating that he could not continue in two posts. “The State government was apparently under pressure from its central leadership [BJP] that I should quit from the position of SPP in the case against Ms. Jayalalithaa.”
Ms. Jayalalithaa's AIADMK is not part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, but senior BJP leader L.K. Advani described her, at a function in Chennai last month, as a “natural ally” of his party.
Though Mr. Acharya did not name those in the State government who had asked him to quit as SPP, only the Chief Minister has the authority to do so, as the Advocate-General is appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Chief Minister.
“I was appointed SPP in the case against Ms. Jayalalithaa on the recommendation of the then Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court. The direction for appointment of senior counsel as SPP was given by the Supreme Court while transferring the trial of the disproportionate assets case to Karnataka from Tamil Nadu,” Mr. Acharya said. “I am not willing to give up the responsibility of SPP as I was chosen for that assignment by the then Chief Justice.”
Mr. Acharya said: “There is absolutely no bar [on] or illegality in my continuing … as SPP and as Advocate-General simultaneously.”
He also pointed out that the State government was aware of his assignment as SPP when it appointed him Advocate-General in August 2011.
Mr. Acharya was appointed to the post after Chief Minister D.V. Sadanada Gowda assumed office on the resignation of Mr. Yeddyurappa. It was Mr. Acharya's fifth stint as Advocate-General.
The 78-year-old Acharya has been SPP since 2004, and he had simultaneously served as Advocate-General during 2007-08 at the time of two spells of President's rule — soon after the fall of the BJP-JD(S) coalition government and the seven-day BJP government.
He made it clear that his resignation had nothing to do with a private complaint filed against him and others before the Special Lokayukta Court making certain allegations with regard to the running of the Bangalore-based BMS Educational Trust.
Recently, a public interest litigation petition, complaining that he was holding two posts, was also filed in the Karnataka High Court.