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U-turn: BJP government defends formation of ACB

The AG argued that ACB is created to probe offences under Prevention of Corruption Act.

Published: 10th January 2020 06:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th January 2020 06:10 AM   |  A+A-

Karnataka high court

Karnataka High Court (File Photo| EPS)

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Contrary to the BJP’s election pledge to shut down the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the state government on Thursday strongly defended its formation, disbanding the powers of the Lokayukta police, to register cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Advocate General (AG) Prabhuling K Navadgi made the submission to a division bench of Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Suraj Govindaraj during the hearing of a batch of public interest litigations questioning the validity of ACB and also the plea of Karnataka Lokayukta seeking powers to register First Information Reports (FIRs).

The AG said the state government is within its powers to open a police station under Section 17 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act)... It is not correct to say that the agency under the political executive will not curb corruption, he argued.

With this, the BJP government indicated it is willing to continue the ACB though the party had promised during 2018 polls that it would restore the powers of Lokayukta and shut down the ACB constituted by the Siddaramaiah government.   

The AG argued that ACB is created to probe offences under Prevention of Corruption Act. Both Karnataka Lokayukta Act and Prevention of Corruption Act are similar. The Lokayukta Act itself prescribes that it coexists with the other laws. “Therefore, it is not correct to say that something is taken away from the Lokayukta by creating ACB”, he argued.

He has contended that it is not the first time that such an agency is created in Karnataka. Cyber Crime Police Stations are opened to investigate the cases registered the provisions of Income Tax Act.
The idea of creating an agency like ACB is to fulfil the requirement of specialisation, he said.
Under Section 7 of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, the government can make a reference. The state government had referred mining cases to Lokayukta. The then Lokayukta Justice N Santhosh Hegde submitted a report on illegal mining. Subsequently, the then ministers Janardan Reddy and Sriramulu had to tender resignation, said Navadgi. The AG also argued that there is no basis for the claim that the Lokayukta is toothless.

State, Centre get notice on live streaming of court proceedings
Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday issued notice to the state and Union governments in response to a public interest litigation seeking directions for live streaming and video recording of proceedings of the courts. Hearing a petition filed by advocate Dilraj Rohit Sequeira and People Union for Civil Liberties, a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar also issued notice to the Karnataka State Bar Council and Registrar General of the High Court.



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