Karnataka: Will Chief Minister Siddaramaiah ever appoint Lokayukta?

An activist in Bengaluru has filed a complaint against the Chief Minister and the state's excise department.

Bengaluru, Dec 09: If Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s statements are any indication, the state is likely to go without a Lokayukta till the present government completes its term in April-May 2018.

Seeming in no hurry to appoint a Lokayukta , Mr Siddaramaiah recently observed that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) was doing a “good job” of hunting down corrupt officers in his government.

“The ACB has been in working in many states. Here too, it is doing well, conducting raids on houses and offices of corrupt officers. The job of Lokayukta is being done by the ACB sleuths along with the investigation,” he said.

Sadly with the government seeming in no mood to appoint a Lokayukta, the agency, which was a model to other states, has now become a show piece. Soon after the resignation of the last Lokayukta, Justice Y Bhaskar Rao on charges of misuse of office, the government had recommended the name of Justice S R Nayak, a former chairman of State Human Rights Commission thrice to Governor Vajubai Vala, but he rejected it all three times. Since then, the government and the Raj Bhavan have been at loggerheads on the issue. While the government does not want to recommend any other name, Mr Vala is not ready to give it his approval either. And in the process the state is having to do without a strong Lokayukta.

Sources in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said Mr Siddaramaiah was adamant on having Mr Nayak as the next Lokayukta and there was still no clarity on why his candidature had been put on hold. No one even knew where the pertinent file was with the government only claiming the issue was still pending with the Governor, sources added.