BENGALURU: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday ruled out a CBI probe into the bribery charge against the Lokayukta, saying the state government did not have powers to do so against an independent anti-corruption body.
"The state government has no powers to seek a CBI probe into a bribery charge in an independent institution like Lokayukta or against its ombudsman," Siddaramaiah told reporters here.
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Upalokayukta Justice Subash B. Adi, on Saturday sought a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into charges against an unidentified person in the Lokayukta, who claimed to be close to Lokayukta Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao and allegedly sought Rs.1 crore from a state public works department engineer on April 21, after Rao on Friday unilaterally ordered the Crime Branch to investigate.
Former Lokayukta Justice N. Santosh Hegde also favoured probing such a serious charge by the country's premier investigating agency.
"Bribery charges within the institution will make people lose faith in it. It is better to shut it than allowing it to just raid officials and not others. Framing charges and conviction rate are far less than the number of graft cases booked," he said.
Adi contended on Saturday that the Crime Branch cannot hold an inquiry without first filing an FIR, lacks expertise to conduct such a probe and was below Lokayukta in the judicial hierarchy.
In a related development, the Lokayukta office on Sunday decided to urge the state government to appoint any other independent agency to probe the charge, as Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) M. Chandra Shekar declined on the grounds that his father-in-law M. Rama Nanjappa was caught accepting Rs.50 lakh bribe when he was a special commissioner for urban land acquisition and was facing proceedings by the Lokayukta office in the case.