Congress too supports motion for removal of Lokayukta

Bengaluru :A motion seeking removal of controversial Karnataka Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao over an alleged extortion racket in the anti-graft ombudsman’s office involving his son will be moved in the state Assembly on November 23 with the support of ruling Congress.

The subject was mentioned in today’s list of business, but Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa said it will be taken up on Monday as the ruling party leaders have informed him that they will also be submitting a petition in support of the motion.

“Today, the Chief Minister will not be present in the House. He will be there on Monday, so let’s take this up on Monday,” he added.

Setting the ball rolling for removal of Rao, Opposition parties on Tuesday had petitioned the Speaker in this regard, with 46 members of BJP and 37 of JD(S) signing the plea.

In a similar act, Opposition parties had also petitioned Legislative Council Chairman seeking removal of Lokayukta.

Agreeing to the Speaker’s decision, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar said, “It is a good move that ruling party is also supporting the motion, it will give more strength to the process.”

With Congress too in support of the motion, it is likely to be adopted unanimously.
Rao, who has been refusing to budge despite calls for his resignation, is on a long leave since July last after his son Ashwin Rao was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with the case.

Under attack from the Opposition for allegedly soft-pedalling serious charges of corruption in the office of the Lokayukta, the state government had in July tabled the Karnataka Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which simplified procedure for removal of the anti-graft ombudsman. It was passed by the legislature.

According to the Act, the notice of motion for removal of Lokayukta may be given in writing to the Speaker or Chairman of the state Council duly signed by not less than one-third of the total membership of both the Houses.

On admission of the motion, they shall refer the matter to the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court for investigation on the grounds over which the removal is prayed for.

If the misbehavior or incapacity of Lokayukta shall be deemed to have been proved by the inquiry, it is then taken up for consideration by the House where the motion for removal is pending.

Once the motion is adopted, an address praying for removal is presented to the Governor duly signed by the Speaker and the Chairman. Once the Governor gives assent to the address, the Lokayukta shall be deemed to have been removed from office in accordance with the law.

The investigation for proof of misbehavior or incapacity of Lokayukta has to be done as provided in the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, by a three-member committee, comprising two judges and a jurist. The entire process is expected to take some months before it sees the exit of Lokayukta.