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Congress, Opposition seek Lokayukta’s resignation

Former Chief Minister and JD (S) leader H D Kumaraswamy and Energy Minister D K Shivakumar, exchanging verbal blows, in Karnataka Assembly at Vidhana Soudha, in Bengaluru on July 16, 2015. Photo K Murali Kumar.   | Photo Credit: K_MURALI_KUMAR

Reflecting the mood of the public in the alleged bribery scandal in the Lokayukta, Legislative Assembly members, cutting across party lines, on Thursday demanded that Lokayukta Y. Bhaskar Rao quit office.

Members of the ruling Congress, and Opposition BJP and JD(S) said the public had no confidence in the Lokayukta in the wake of his son Ashwin Y.’s alleged involvement in the bribery scam. “If the Lokayukta had any shame, he should have quit the office by this time,” senior Congress member K.R. Ramesh Kumar said.

While the BJP demanded a probe by the CBI into the Lokayukta’s affairs, JD(S) members alleged that the government had been safeguarding the Lokayukta and officers. The JD(S) demanded amendments to the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984, in a few days for the removal of the Lokayukta.

S. Suresh Kumar (BJP) appealed to the House to pass a resolution seeking resignation of Mr. Rao. However, Mr. Ramesh Kumar and other members opposed it since it would lower the dignity of the House in case Mr. Rao did not resign.

In reply to the two-day debate on the subject, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra ruled out the CBI probe and said the Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been given full powers and staff to conduct the probe. He also promised of amending the Act in the current session to ensure removal of the Lokayukta.

Unhappy with the reply, BJP and JD(S) members staged a walkout.

Earlier, the House witnessed heated exchange of words between Congress and JD(S) members when H.D. Kumaraswamy (JD-S) claimed that “the government is directly protecting the Lokayukta” and the SIT probe would not come out with any creditworthy report to nab the culprits involved in the scam. He blamed the government for the delay in the arrest of Mr. Ashwin.

Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa said the House should succeed in sending a message to the Lokayukta as well as to the public on the issue of corruption in the watchdog. He also told the government to take action first against the ZP engineer who orally complained to the Lokayukta on the alleged bribery scam.

Kumaraswamy, Shivakumar spar over cases

A war of words broke out between the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday over filing cases against them and their family members by the Lokayukta.

While Mr. Kumaraswamy alleged that the government had been misusing the Lokayukta to file FIRs against him and BJP MP B.S. Yeddyurappa, Mr. Shivakumar shouted at the JD(S) leader: “You too misused the office to file cases against my wife in Ballary mining case.”

Home Minister K.J. George extended support to his Cabinet colleague and said there was no substance in allegations made by Mr. Kumaraswamy against the government.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 3:18:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-opposition-seek-lokayuktas-resignation/article7430501.ece

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