Karnataka Lokayukta orders halt to graft probe against its officials
Bengaluru, (IANS) Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao on Monday ordered Upa Lokayukta Justice Subash B. Adi to stop further investigation into corruption charges against some officials in the anti-graft body.
“Rao has directed Adi to stop Lokayukta Superintendent of Police Sonia Narang from further investigating the corruption charges against some of their officials on complaints lodged by RTI activists and a few state officers,” a spokesperson of the anti-graft body told IANS.
Adi instructed Narang on June 23 to investigate the graft charges after Bengaluru urban zilla parishad executive engineer S. Krishnamurthy alleged that a Lokayukta official demanded a Rs.1 crore bribe from him for not filing a graft case against him.
Though the accused Lokayukta official has not been identified so far, he is suspected to be a relative of the ombudsman’s son Ashwini Rao.
He is also accused of threatening senior officers with graft cases against them if they did not pay him.
Krishnamurthy, however, told Narang that the official gave his name as Krishna Rao and claimed to be working in the ombudsman’s office along with another mediator, Narasimha Rao.
The state lawyers’ forum, which staged a demonstration at the Lokayukta office in the city seeking the ombudsman’s resignation, alleged that Ashwini Rao took crores of rupees from many senior officials by threatening them that graft cases would be filed against them if they did not pay up.
In a related development, Rao also wrote to the state government on Monday for appointing an independent agency to investigate the bribe charges against some officials of the Lokayukta and the alleged involvement of his son.
“If the chief minister (Siddaramaiah) says the state government does not have the power to order a CBI probe, let an independent body be constituted under the Prevention of Corruption Act to inquire into the bribe charge and graft charges against some of our officials,” Rao said in the letter.
Rao’s missive to the state government came a day after Bengaluru crime branch Joint Commissioner M. Chandra Shekar on Sunday declined to investigate the bribe charge, as his father-in-law Rama Nanjappa was being probed by the Lokayukta after being caught taking a Rs.50,000 bribe when he was special commissioner for urban land acquisition in the city.