Barely one and half months after assuming office, Karnataka Lokayukta Shivaraj Patil has landed in a row for securing allotment of two residential plots from two housing cooperative societies violating rules.
However, Mr. Patil, a retired Supreme Court judge, defended himself, stating that his wife had purchased one of the sites.
Mr. Patil was allotted a site measuring 9,600 sq ft at Allalasandra on the city outskirts in the residential layout formed by Karnataka State Judicial Department Employees House Building Cooperative Society in 1994.
His wife Annapura was allotted another site measuring about 4012 sq ft at Nagawara by Vyalikaval House Building Cooperative Society in 2006.
Under the norms, the allotments violate Sec 10 (a) of the model bye-law framed for House Building Cooperative Societies which bars any member or his family who has been allotted a site by a society from getting another in the name of other family members.
In the wake of criticism over allotment of sites to Mr. Patil and his wife, the Lokayukta said he has advised his wife to return the plot to Vyalikaval House Building Cooperative Society.
“A letter has been given to the Society surrendering the site allotted to my wife on September 14”, Mr. Patil told reporters at Raichur.
“The Vyalikaval House Building Society had lot of debts and members of the Society who are government nominees approached the government seeking permission to sell sites for outright sale. My wife purchased one in outright sale. Once that is done, restrictions on a family member owning another does not arise”, Mr. Patil said.
He, however, said he was not going into its legality and has advised his wife to surrender the site on moral grounds as he holds the post of Lokayukta.
Mr. Patil also defended allotment of a site to him in the judicial layout and added the issue of allotment of sites to judges has been settled by the Supreme Court and High Court.
JD(S) spokesperson Y.S.V. Datta demanded that “legally, technically and morally” Mr. Patil should quit as Lokayukta.
He said since Vyalikaval House Building Society has favoured family members of former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa by allotting land in its layout and is before the Lokayukta probe, Patil cannot continue in the post.
A Supreme Court judge will certainly have knowledge about rules and regulations, he said.
Mr. Patil assumed office on August 4 succeeding Justice Santosh Hegde.