In what could be seen as a major setback for the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka, Governor Vajubhai Vala on Monday asked the government to reconsider its choice of Lokayukta.
Sending back the file that recommended the name of former High Court Justice Vishwanath Shetty to head the anti-corruption watchdog, the Governor has reportedly asked the state government “to consider the merits and demerits of the candidate”.
The Governor has also sought a response from the government in this regard.
On January 9, a high-level colleguim headed by the CM had recommended the name of Vishwanath Shetty for the post.
According to media reports, the Governor- who has previously rejected the name of Justice SR Nayak twice in 2016- observed that the government should choose someone with an impeccable track record for the post.
Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision is likely to be influencd by social activist SR Hiremath, who has demanded a probe into the assets of Vishwanath Shetty, alleging that he had submitted a false affidavit to procure land in the Judicial Layout in Bengaluru.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was quick to defend the government’s choice following the allegations.
The Times of India quoted an unnamed source in the CM’s office as saying,
“Since a few clarifications have been sought, we will refer the matter to the advocate general, seek the official response and will communicate it to the governor.”
The post of Karnataka Lokayukta has remained vacant ever since the exit of Justice Y Bhaskar Rao in December 2015, following allegations including that of corruption against his son.