Y. Bhaskar Rao has finally resigned from his post of Lokayukta on Tuesday. His resignation letter was sent to Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala on Monday through N.S. Balakrishna, in-charge Registrar, Karnataka Lokayukta, and is reported to have been accepted by the Governor on Tuesday.
N.S. Balakrishna confirmed to The Hindu that he passed on Mr. Bhaskar Rao’s resignation letter to the Governor on Monday and it was communicated from the Raj Bhavan that it has been accepted.
A motion to remove Mr. Bhaskar Rao was adopted by the Legislative Assembly recently and the Speaker was yet to hand over the probe into the case to the Chief Justice, Karnataka High Court.
Mr. Bhaskar Rao was on leave from July 27 and is holed up in Hyderabad after his son Y. Ashwin was arrested for running an extortion ring in the Lokayukta, threatening officers with raids if they failed to pay up.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the extortion ring scandal had in fact not only listed Mr. Bhaskar Rao as a prosecution witness but also grilled him for several hours and conducted a mahazar of his official residence and office as scenes of crime.
In the multiple chargesheets that the SIT has filed till date, they have recorded statements from multiple IAS and other officials that they were called by touts and Ashwin to the residence of Lokayukta and asked to pay up to prevent a raid against them.
In fact the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984 was amended to bring clarity in the procedure to remove a Lokayukta or Upa Lokayukta, with the sole intention to remove Mr. Bhaskar Rao.
With the resignation of Mr. Bhaskar Rao being accepted by the Governor, the motion adopted for his removal from the post of Lokayukta is most likely to turn infructuous. This sets the ball for the selection of a new Lokayukta to head the organisation that has been considerably weakened and lost its sheen during this bribery scandal in the anti-corruption watchdog.
The Chief Minister has convened a meeting of the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, Opposition leaders of both Houses of the legislature today, to deliberate on the appointment of a Upa Lokayukta to replace S.B. Majage, who retired on July 17. The selection of a new Lokayukta is also expected to figure in the meeting.
Mr. Bhaskar Rao was appointed as the Lokayukta in February 2013. Hailing from Andhra Pradesh, he served as the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court earlier. His predecessor Shivaraj Patil also made an unceremonious exit after being in office for just three months in September 2011, over the alleged illegal allotment of a site in the Judicial Layout.