Karnataka lokayukta in serious trouble over links to extortions

Allegations against his son of using official residence and office to make deals

GN Bureau | June 30, 2015


#lokayukta   #Karnataka   #bahskar rao   #lawyers   #corruption   #extortion  

Karnataka’s lokayukta, which is supposed to act against corruption, is accused of serious irregularities and the state lawyers have sought the resignation of Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao. The Bar Council had passed a unanimous resolution on Monday demanding resignation of the lokayukta.

Karnataka state bar council chairman PP Hegde on Tuesday said that advocates would hold a demonstration outside lokayukta office in Bengaluru on Wednesday if Justice Rao does not resign by Tuesday evening following alleged corruption scandal in his office.

Suspecting a conspiracy in hushing-up the case, he claimed, “Some public servants are ready to give evidence into the alleged bribery case. There is likelihood of some of them approaching the police in this regard on Tuesday.”

Hegde said that the credibility of the lokayukta institution is at stake in the wake of these allegations and the lokayukta must relinquish his post to facilitate an impartial probe.

Meanwhile, Karnataka home minister KJ George said on Tuesday that a special investigation team (SIT) has been formed to probe the case.

Bhaskara Rao’s son Ashwin Rao, another relative Krishna Rao and one more person are accused of blackmailing and extorting money from government officials suspected to be corrupt and nearing their retirement. Local media reports put the figure of extortion amount around Rs 180 crore in 109 cases.

The scam would have continued but for an engineer. He made a complaint to lokayukta SP Sonia Narang that some people demanded money from him at the lokayukta head office. Her investigation revealed that the calls came from the office and residence of the lokayukta.

Now, at least 23 people have complained to the lokayukta that they were approached by his close people for money.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has filed a criminal com plaint against Ashwin Rao, and Krishna Rao for allegedly blackmailing and extorting money from government officials by misusing the name of the Karnataka lokayukta, and operating out of his official residence.

In another revelation local social activist SR Hiremath has claimed that Bhaskar Rao was aware of the alleged extortion ring being run by his relative in the lokayukta office since at least March 2015. Tipped off by a senior lokayukta official about the corruption and involvement of Rao’s relative in March,  Hiremath claimed he had alerted the lokayukta in a meeting about the misuse of his office.

“I had brought to the lokayukta’s notice that a close relative was misusing his official residence and his office to extort money from government officials. It did not come as a surprise to him. He said he had disowned the person and had nothing to do with him. When I insisted that he take corrective measures to preserve the credibility of the institution, he said he will look into the matter. But from what has come out now, it is evident that no corrective measures were taken,” Hiremath told local media.

The retired lokayukta of Karnataka, Justice N Santosh Hegde, has expressed shock over the incident. He said, "If I were in Bhaskara Rao's place, I would have left my house immediately to save my face".

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