BENGALURU: Like Dhritarashtra in the Mahabharatha, Justice Y Bhaskar Rao was blinded by his love for his son, investigators unravelling a sensational scam are saying.
The blindness led to his downfall: the Lokayukta’s own Superintendent of Police Sonia Narang registered an FIR against his son Y Ashwin in July 2015, setting off a flood of developments that finally engulfed him.
Rao had not heeded warnings about his son’s brazen misdeeds, staff working at the Lokayukta office and official residence told investigators. His office was on Ambedkar Veedhi, near the Vidhana Soudha, while his house was on Crescent Road.
In his statement before the Special Investigation Team, Rao claimed his relationship with his son had become distant after his marriage, but the multi-crore racket gave enough evidence to the contrary.
Rao’s alleged complicity in the sensational scam led to sweeping changes in Karnataka, with the government shutting down the Lokayukta police wing and launching what many consider a more pliable Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
For 10 days, Rao did not act on a report submitted by Narang on the Rs 1 crore allegedly demanded by Ashwin from M N Krishnamurthy, Executive Engineer, Zilla Panchayat.
Rao allegedly alerted realtor Ashok Kumar and RTI activist Shankaregowda to destroy the SIM cards used to extort money from officials. Crucial evidence was thus denied to investigators. He then consulted an advocate to fight Ashwin’s legal case.
The SIT, which has secured call records and messages exchanged between Ashwin and his advocate, believes it can nail him with the evidence. The then BBMP Commissioner Lakshminarayan, senior IAS officer Prakash, constable Pramod, and cook D Sandeep Kumar told the SIT they had cautioned Rao about what was happening, but he had ignored them.
Suspended PRO Syed Riyaz had asked his staff to spread negative reports against Sonia Narang after she registered an FIR against him, the SIT says.