BANGALORE: The controversy over Karnataka Lokayukta seems to be a never-ending affair. The latest in the row is the rejection of former Kerala High Court chief justice S R Bannurmath as the next Lokayukta by Governor Hans Raj Bharadwaj.Prior to this, there was a tiff between the government and the governor over the appointment of Justice Shivraj Patil. Within a span of two months after taking over the office of Lokayukta, Patil had to put in his papers for alleged violation of a co-operative housing society rules.
Sources close to the governor say that Bharadwaj turned down the appointment of Bannurmath as the next Lokayukta on two grounds, first that the Apex Court passed strictures against him in the Classic Computer Case, and second, rules were flouted while selecting his name as the only candidate instead of panel of names.
More than these technical grounds to reject the name, Bharadwaj is said to have felt that Bannurmath was being brought to the anti-corruption institute to “whitewash the crimes of big people”.
Sources close to the governor said that he was preparing a detailed report in the next few days and reach the government in about a week’s time.
The governor is said to have been armed with the letter of former Karnataka Chief Justice J S Kehar that he was not given the panel of names as per the rules and a letter by Opposition leader in the Legislative Council S Motamma asking for a meeting of the panel to finalise the name of next Lokayukta.
Meanwhile, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar has stated that they have a strong defence on the “procedure of selection of Bannurmath”. He said that the government would make another attempt to convince the governor on the appointment of Bannurmath. Even Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda is understood to have spoken to the governor on the issue.