The BJP MP alleged that the case was dropped as Siddaramaiah had diluted the powers of Lokayukta.

Lokayukta drops steel bridge case filed against Siddaramaiah by Rajeev ChandrasekharPTI/ File image
news Politics Sunday, January 19, 2020 - 19:18

The controversial steel flyover project in Bengaluru which was proposed and scrapped has again made news with former CM Siddaramaiah tweeting a Lokayukta order on a complaint filed by Bengaluru-based BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar .

On Saturday, SIddaramiah called it a “great win for us to show our people that we had no corrupt intention” as he shared the order stating the complaint filed against him, others can be closed as prescribed under Section 9(5)(b) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act.

The said section 9(5)(b) reads—-  The Lokayukta or the Upalokayukta may, in his discretion, refuse to investigate or cease to investigate any complaint involving a grievance or an allegation, if, in his opinion, there are no sufficient grounds for investigating or, as the case may be, for continuing the investigation.

It may be recalled that the MP had petitioned the anti-corruption ombudsman to probe purported corruption charges against then CM Siddaramiah and others in early 2017 for the flyover planned to be built between Hebbal and Chalukya Circle.

The project first proposed during the SIddaramaiah regime was scrapped in March, 2017 following wide scale civil society protests and litigations at the High Court and the National Green Tribunal, it was resurrected by the Kumaraswamy government. Later again the state government in June, 2019 told the Karnataka High Court that the project has again been scrapped.

In a series of tweets, Siddaramaiah said the steel bridge case was one of the many allegations made by the BJP to influence the electoral mandate and he is open to investigations to probe on other allegations as well. He insisted in those cases too, he and his colleagues would come out clean. He further said that “people have made a wrong choice”.

Responding to this, Rajeev Chandrasekhar retorted strongly and claimed that project was shutdown by courts.He also insisted that the Lokayukta was closing the case due to lack of evidence only which was a result of SIddaramaiah’s decision to dilute the powers of the Lokayukta during his chief ministership.

SIddaramiah in 2016 had diminished the authority of the Lokayukta by introducing the Anti-Corruption Bureau in 2016. After ACB’s introduction, the Lokayukta lost the power to file cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act on its own or conduct raids. Lokayakuta can, as a result, probe cases based on complaints addressed to them, and only after the permission of the state government.

Incidentally, the BJP like the Congress and the JD(S) had promised in their manifesto to restore the powers of Lokayukta but none have walked the talk.