BANGALORE: Former Kerala High Court Chief Justice S R Bannurmath has decided to opt out of the post of Lokayukta in Karnataka.
According to sources, Karnataka Chief Minister Sadanand Gowda said that the judge sent a letter to him, requesting the government not to pursue the matter with Governor HR Bharadwaj.
"I received a letter from Justice Bannurmath stating that because of the various things that have appeared in the newspaper, he is hurt, and it may not be possible for him, even though, if he is appointed as the Lokayukta, to perform his duties. So, he said that he is withdrawing his name and he requested me to get back to him from the government," said Gowda.
Justice Bannurmath backed out after Bharadwaj rejected the government's recommendation to appoint him as Lokayukta citing a land row among other reasons.
Hitting out at Bharadwaj, Justice Bannurmath said that the allegations against him were baseless.
"The allegation that allotment of a site to me in a judicial layout is illegal is baseless. I do not own any other property. Hence this allegation is baseless," said Justice Bannurmath while saying that he has decided to opt out following the accusation.
Pointing that there was no factual foundation for any allegation against him, he said, "All allegations made against me in the media and by the governor are false, reckless and motivated."
"I would not have been made a Chief Justice, held other constitutional posts had I been corrupt or communal," he further said.
Justice Bannurmath said that he was deeply hurt and had lost his peace and tranquility.
He said, "I am tired of answering painful questions. Took the decision to convey the CM yesterday, requesting him not to consider me for the post of Lokayukta."
The appointment of a new Lokayukta became a contentious issue in October 2011 when Gowda recommended Justice Bannurmath's name. The post had fallen vacant when Justice Shivaraj Patil resigned in September in a land allotment row.
Rejecting the recommendations of the state government, a Raj Bhavan communique had said, "The Governor of Karnataka, having considered the proposal received from the Government through the Chief Secretary, regarding appointment of Justice S.R.Bannurmath as Karnataka Lokayukta and having taken into consideration the contents of subsequent correspondence between the Governor and Chief Minister, has formally rejected the advice tendered by the Chief Minister in this regard."
The file was also returned to the government.