In a first, the state legislature on Monday admitted a motion for the removal of Karnataka’s Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao over corruption charges that he is facing along with his son, Ashwin Rao.
However, the opposition parties accused ruling Congress party of stalling Rao’s removal after Law Minister TB Jayachandra was seen repeatedly asking the speaker to collect more data before that, reported BM.
Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa accepted the motion for the removal of Lokayukta Bhaskar Rao. He said that before approaching the chief justice of Karnataka High Court to carry out a probe in to the extortion scandal, he would have to collect all the data required and analysis.
Bangalore Mirror quoted Speaker Thimmappa saying, “Prior to sending a letter to the chief justice, I will call a meeting of all party leaders of the house and prepare the draft.”
Chairman of the legislative council D H Shankarmurthy said that since removal of a sitting judge is taking place for the first time, the speaker and he are being careful and taking cautious steps, reported Bangalore Mirror.
Deccan Herald reported that senior Congress leader and former Speaker Ramesh Kumar asked the Speaker to make sure that the motion was supported by the entire House. The Speaker said that he was accepting the motion even if Congress refuses to support it.
On Monday, Congress party went back on its promise that it had made on Friday to petition the Speaker for removal of the Lokayukta even though Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Law Minister T B Jayachandra said the move was supported by Congress party, reported Indian Express
On November 17, forty-two JDS and BJP MLCs and 83 MLAs of both parties had signed a petition, seeking removal of Bhaskar Rao and enquiry into the corruption allegations. It was submitted before the Chairman of the Legislative Council and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
Since the corruption racket came to light in July 2015, Bhaskar Rao has been on extended leave. On October 21, he extended his leave for the fourth time, but has refused to step down despite numerous public campaigns. Every year Lokayukta, at any time avail 70 days leave with full allowances and 90 days with half allowance.
The case against Ashwin Rao was filed in May 2015 by a government executive engineer, M N Krishnamurthy, who alleged that Rao demanded Rs 1 crore to stop the initiation of corruption proceedings against him. An audio clip of a call made from Justice Bhaskar Rao exposed that he too had been involved in the scandal.