BENGALURU: Yerabati Ashwin, in the news for his alleged involvement in an extortion racket at the Karnataka Lokayukta, believes someone is out to defame his father Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao.
For the first time, Ashwin — his official name does not have the Rao suffix — has come out to defend himself as the furore threatens to cost his father the Lokayukta’s job.
“I think people who will benefit from my father’s resignation are behind these false allegations,” he told Express.
An engineer called Krishna Murthy has alleged he was called to the Lokayukta’s office and asked to pay `1 crore to escape a raid. Ashwin was allegedly one of the ‘agents’ who negotiated with him.
On the days mentioned by the investigators, Ashwin says he was at the US consulate in Hyderabad, seeking a visa.
The soft-spoken Ashwin (46) is confident he will clear his name. On Tuesday, he met Lokayukta IGP Pranab Mohanty and submitted documents to support his claim that he was in Hyderabad when the alleged extortion was attempted. “I am willing to cooperate with the investigation. When I have not done anything wrong, why should I be worried?” he said.
Rao is not putting in his papers, Ashwin said, describing his father as “a strong wall that may shake, but will never fall”.
Ashwin said he had no idea about the identity of Krishna Rao, the agent who had claimed to be the Lokayukta’s secretary and demanded money from officials.On Leave
Lokayukta PRO Syed Riyaz, also under a cloud, and Registrar H R Deshpande have applied for leave from Wednesday, a source said.
Ashwin, an electronics and communication engineer, is a resident of Hyderabad, and runs a car restoration business. He owns 25 vintage cars, including a 1928-model Chevrolet. “I come to Bengaluru once in two or three months to see my parents. I hardly know anyone here,” he told Express.
Narang Sought My Help, claims Ashwin
Ashwin claimed Lokayukta SP Sonia Narang had sought his help to get a posting in the anti-corruption agency. “She met me thrice and all meetings were at the Lokayukta’s official residence. Once, she had come with one Narasimha Murthy and twice, she was accompanied by her husband,” he said.
When contacted, Narang admitted the meetings took place at the Lokayukta’s residence in September and October 2014. “I did not go there on my own. In fact, I got a call that the Lokayukta would like to see me. When I went there, the Lokayukta was not around. Ashwin asked me if I would like to be posted in the Lokayukta. I said I was willing to work wherever the government posted me,” she said. She fears attempts are being made to discourage her as she is proceeding with the investigation.
A policeman said Ashwin’s charge is “only meant to divert attention from the issue of in-house corruption that Narang is looking into”.