BANGALORE: The governor and the Karnataka government on Sunday opened a new flank in their confrontation over the appointment of Lokayukta. H R Bhardwaj stunned the DV Sadananda regime, saying a new Lokayukta would be appointed within ten days, a statement that left the government groping for clues.
After administering oath to second Upa Lokayukta Justice Chandrashekaraiah here, Bhardwaj said, "Things have started moving in the right direction. The Karnataka government seems to have made up its mind to suggest another name after I did not consider the name of retired judge SR Bannurmath on certain grounds. Hopefully, the matter will be resolved in 7-10 days." He added: "If the government proposed a new name after due consultations within next one week or so, I'm ready to clear the proposal in half an hour."
This surprised the government. "We don't know how the governor made such a statement. We are not contemplating making any fresh proposal; the governor, too, didn't make any such request. We still stand by our earlier recommendation of appointing Justice Bannurmath as Lokayukta,'' said a senior minister, making the statement after consulting CM DV Sadananda Gowda.
Bhardwaj sprang another surprise, saying he was not considering Bannurmath's name not because he owned a site in Judicial Layout, but for an "entirely different reason''. He said he cannot make it public to protect his dignity.
The BJP government recommended Justice Bannurmath for the post on October 27 to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of retired Supreme Court judge Justice Shivaraj Patil over a land allotment controversy, and repeatedly sought to push its case. Bhardwaj has refused to accept Justice Bannurmath's name citing reports in a section of the press about a similar charge. "The (allotment of) site is not the issue at all and it is out of the question now," he added.
CM absent as Upa Lokayukta takes over
Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda was conspicuous by his absence when retired high court judge Chandrashekaraiah took over as the second Upa Lokayukta at Raj Bhavan on Sunday. Though officials maintained that he was busy with other programmes, sources said Gowda gave the programme a miss in the light of media reports over the controversy surrounding the appointment of the second Upa Lokayukta.
The 70-year-old Chandrashekaraiah, who had also served as the president of Karnataka State Consumer Redressal Commission, succeeds Justice R Gururajan, who resigned in October citing health reasons. Chandrashekaraiah served as judge of the Karnataka HC between 1995 and 2004 and as the Commission president between 2004 and 2009.
Chandrashekaraiah's appointment is mired in controversy since he too is in the league of those retired judges who own multiple sites allegedly in violation of housing society bylaws. Sources said he was reportedly allotted a 4,000 square feet prime site in Judicial Layout in 1997, when he already owned a house in Banashankari II stage. Chandrashekaraiah however defended the charges quoting a SC ruling which upheld dismissal of a case challenging the owning of sites by the judges.
In the CM's absence, law and parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Kumar and home minister R Ashoka attended.
The Member of Parliament Local Area Development Division is entrusted with the responsibility of implementation of Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). Under the scheme, each MP has the choice to suggest to the District Collector for, works to the tune of Rs.2 Crores per annum to be taken up in his/her constituency.