Governor H.R. Bhardwaj has said that he is “seriously troubled” by the developments surrounding the Lokayukta and that the recent transfers of Lokayukta officials “do not inspire any confidence” among the people.
Speaking to presspersons here on Monday, Mr. Bhardwaj said that he was closely watching the transfer of officials, most recently of Additional Director-General of Police Jeevan Kumar V. Gaonkar. It was “a matter of concern” since the officers were investigating serious cases and performing statutory duties. He added that transfers were “an area where Raj Bhavan has no role”.
However, Mr. Bhardwaj categorically said, “I will not allow an inappropriate person to be appointed Lokayukta.” He had asked the Government to come up with more names for the post of Lokayukta, possibly even that of a Supreme Court judge, when Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda met him earlier. He had told the Government that was in its interests to appoint a person worthy of the post, he said.
While not directly endorsing the former judge M.F. Saldanha's suggestion that a person from outside the State be appointed Lokayukta, the Governor said it was a “good suggestion”. He refused to comment any further on the issue, saying that it could be construed as against the interests of the State.
Mr. Bhardwaj said that he was troubled by attacks on the Lokayukta institution that it was not a “healthy development”. When asked to comment on State BJP president K.S. Eshwarappa's statement that he was unsure if the Lokayukta should continue to function at all, Mr. Bhardwaj said that he did not “comment on party workers' statements”.
He said that the past two-and-a-half years of his stay in Karnataka had been a “continuous struggle against this kind of governance”.
The former MP P. Kodandaramaiah on Monday urged the State Government to reinstate Mr. Gaonkar as Lokayukta ADGP.
Speaking to presspersons here, Mr Kodandaramaiah said Mr. Goankar, who had been transferred as ADGP (Administration), was an efficient officer. “Nobody can question his impartiality and professionalism.”
He regretted the actions of the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who reportedly called Mr. Gaonkar and threatened him to drop the investigation against his son H.D. Balakrishna Gowda.
Mr. Kodandaramaiah alleged that the conduct of Mr. Deve Gowda had allowed the State Government to transfer the officer