BENGALURU: The High Court has held that the Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Corporation (KRIDC) does not have the power to entrust inquiry against its officials to the Lokayukta. Allowing a petition questioning the entrusting of inquiry to the Lokayukta, Justice M Nagaprasanna held that entrusting an inquiry into the hands of the anti - corruption watchdog by the managing director of the corporation is an act without jurisdiction, and is not available with the corporation.
The petition was filed by KRIDC executive engineers GB Devaraj, Davanagere; BP Lingaraju, Shivamogga; and Assistant Executive Engineer Ashwathanarayana Swamy, Ballari, who questioned KRIDC’s order dated October 29, 2018, entrusting the departmental inquiry against them into the hands of the Lokayukta, and consequent action of the Additional Registrar of Enquiries-13, Lokayukta, issuing articles of charges dated December 20, 2018, pursuant to the entrustment.
The corporation entrusted the probe to the Lokayukta on a complaint of misconduct over a building construction, following a reference made by the government after receiving a report from the Lokayukta, under Section 12(3) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act. On arguments of the Lokayukta’s counsel that it was created to root out graft and the court’s interference will dilute its object, the judge stated that the object with which the Lokayukta is created will have to be executed only in accordance with the law.
“There is no specific rule in the corporation for such entrustment, as the Karnataka Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules are not specifically adopted by the Board of the Corporation, and the finding is rendered only in the absence of such adoption...” the judge said. Justice Prasanna quashed the entrustment of enquiry to the Lokayukta and charges against the petitioners. However, he made it clear that setting aside the order will not preclude the corporation to proceed against the petitioners under the Cadre and Recruitment Rules of the corporation.