‘It was not me, but a private complaint that sent him to jail’

The former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde on Friday hit back at the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for describing his relinquishing the post of the Chief Minister after he was indicted in the Lokayukta’s report on illegal mining as a “mistake.”

“That is (resigning as the Chief Minister) was not the only mistake. He has committed many mistakes. But the one mistake which he should have remembered is that that mentioned in the Lokayukta’s report on illegal mining. As a Chief Minister, it was wrong on his part to do whatever has been mentioned in my report,” Mr. Hegde told presspersons on the sidelines of a seminar organised to mark National Media Day.

The seminar was jointly organised by the Karnataka Media Academy and the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Bangalore.

Reacting to Mr. Yeddyurappa’s statement that the Lokayukta’s report had not recommended his resignation, Mr. Hegde said: “Yes, I am nobody to ask the Chief Minister to resign. Many Chief Ministers, who are facing similar allegations, are continuing in their post.”

Taking serious exception to Mr. Yeddyurappa’s repeated allegations against him that it was he (Mr. Santosh Hegde) who had sent him to jail, the former Lokayukta said: “I did not send him (Mr. Yeddyurapp) to jail. A few private complainants filed a petition against him following which he had to go to jail. I did not even have the power to send him to jail. Where is the question of misusing the power?”

Earlier addressing the seminar, Mr. Hegde called upon the media to evolve its own system for rectification of the lapses or take up self-regulation. “Do not allow outsiders to interfere in the freedom of the press in the name of regulation of your functioning,” Mr. Hegde said while highlighting the importance of media in protecting democracy.

He said that the peoplehad pinned their hopes on the media at a time when they were disillusioned by other pillars of democracy. But the incidents such as the “paid news episode” had pained them. He expressed concern over the recent trend of politicians and industrialists buying media houses for furthering their own cause. He also took exception to those criticising the media for publishing the alleged expose by Mr. Kejriwal.

Public TV Chief Editor H.R. Ranganath, journalist R. Poornima, Information Department Director N. R. Vishukumar and Madhyama Bharati Programme Director Jayaram Adiga spoke.

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