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Bill to ease steps for Lokayukta’s removal tabled in Karnataka Assembly

Bengaluru: A bill simplifying the procedure for removal of Lokayukta was tabled in the Karnataka Assembly on Thursday, in the light of a raging row over an alleged bribery scandal that has hit the state’s anti-graft ombudsman with growing clamour for his exit.

Facing allegations that it was soft pedalling serious charges of corruption in the office of Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao with his son’s name also linked to it, the government introduced The Karnataka Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

The government had in recent weeks been expressing its inability to remove Lokayukta despite the graft charges against his son who was allegedly part of an extortion racket in collusion with some officials of the institution.

In a concerted action in the recent legislature session, BJP and JDS had presented a petition signed by 57 MLAs to Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimappa, requesting him to allow a motion for the removal of Rao but in vain.

There has been growing pressure from Opposition parties and various organisations for removal of Rao and a CBI probe into the alleged racket. But an unfazed Lokayukta is brazening it out, saying he would quit if the charges are proved.

The amendments relate to revision of procedure for removal of the Lokayukta or Upalokayukta and confinement of powers of Lokayukta or Upalokayukta to handle cases under the Prevention of Corruption act, 1988 and not to investigate cases about maladministration and administrative grievances.

The clause for removal of Lokayukta or Upalokayukta mentions that they shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the Governor passed after an address by each House of the state legislature supported by simple majority of the total membership of the House has been presented to the Governor in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.