BENGALURU: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) has sealed the office of Joint Commissioner and PRO of the Karnataka Lokayukta, Syed Riyaz, on Saturday. The officials also quizzed the PRO’s staff after a meeting with in-charge Registrar M S Balakrishna.
Apart from Riyaz’s chamber, they also sealed the conference hall between the chambers of Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao and Riyaz’s office. The conference hall was used to strike the alleged deal after the officials (who faced extortion) were summoned to the PRO’s chamber, according to investigation reports.
The registrar has also begun reshuffling of staff attached to Riyaz’s office, which is on the second floor. The two constables working with Riyaz were also allegedly helping him in extortion and corruption. The registrar has replaced the constables with new staff from the City Armed Reserve.
The second floor of the Lokayukta offices houses the office of Lokayukta, PRO, deputy registrar and registrar. It has come to light that several officers have been working in the same place for more than five years.
According to sources, the Lokayukta registry has asked Riyaz to produce original air tickets, as he has submitted photocopies of the tickets to seek an extension on his leave application. Till that time, no decision will be taken on his leave application.
SIT officials also asked the registrar to inform them when Riyaz returns to duty.
During Saturday’s meeting, SIT officials collected the documents pertaining to Riyaz including those related to his deputation to the Lokayukta.
In view of a High Court order, the registry has started preparing a list of officials working in the same place for more than three years. They will be replaced soon.
Land Records Recovered
The Special Investigation Team officials took Srinivasa Gowda, one of the accused who has been arrested, to his native place in Kolar, where they collected some land records that have to be verified. However, they did not get any major details in support of charges against Gowda, sources said.
Meanwhile, freedom fighter H S Doreswamy, activist and former legislator A T Ramaswamy and others met SIT chief ADGP Kamal Pant at his office in the premises of the CID on Saturday. They urged Pant to arrest the main accused Ashwin Y, son of Lokayukta Bhaskar Rao.
After seeking the information about the progress of the investigation, they sought to know the reasons for delay in arrest of Ashwin. In reply, Pant assured them that the investigation was on the right track and Ashwin will be arrested soon, after concrete evidence is gathered.
Pant is said to have requested the public to give information in support of the corruption charges against the accused.
‘SIT Shielding Ashwin’
S R Hiremath of social organisation Samaj Parivatana Samudaya (SPS) expressed anguish at the SIT for not arresting Lokayukta Bhaskar Rao’s son Ashwin despite an FIR being registered against him.
In a release, Hiremath said, “The FIR was filed on July 1. More than three weeks have elapsed and we are still not aware if even an ordinary communication or contact has been established by the SIT with Ashwin. This is an extreme form of miscarriage of justice, and misdirection of a criminal investigation.”
“We will soon file an application in the High Court with a prayer that the CBI be directed to examine the criminal conspiracy by SIT three members Kamal Pant, Labhu Ram and Soumendu Mukherjee, to shield Ashwin,” he added.
He alleged that the accused are all making statements in the public through media but seem to be not unreachable to the SIT. “The image of the officer who took earnest steps is being tarnished, the complainant has been made to backtrack, the main culprits are allowed to be at large. The SIT officers must be subjected to an investigation so that the truth is unfolded,” he urged.