Bangalore, Oct 14: Former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde today dismissed as “extra-ordinary and absolutely frivolous” the grounds on which the BJP government decided to seek reconsideration of his report on illegal mining as the head of the anti-corruption watchdog.
Speaking to reporters here, Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge, saw the Government move as one aimed at “delaying” (the implementation).
“The reasons given by the government are rather extraordinary”, he said, adding they are “absolutely frivolous” and appeared to be “layman's excuses”.
The state cabinet had yesterday decided to seek the views of the (yet-to-be-named) Lokayukta whether the July 27 report submitted by Hegde as the then Lokayukta is in compliance with law, particulary with reference to principles of natural justice.
The BJP government's contention is that the then Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and the then Ministers and mining magnates from Bellary—G Janardhan Reddy, G Karunakara Reddy and B Sriramulu, who have been indicted in Hegde's findings, were not heard before the report was prepared.
Yeddyurappa resigned in the wake of his indictment.
Hegde asked why the government did not reject his report if it indeed violated constitutional provisions and principles of natural justice.
The reasons cited by the government gave an impression that he does not know law, applied law unfairly and he had malice towards the government. “If they reject, (public) reaction will be different. That's why they are delaying”.
Asserting that he acted within the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta, Hegde said the anti-graft body had the power to recommend removal of public representatives, including Ministers and the Chief Minister.
The terms of reference set by the government for the probe had mandated fixing responsibility vis-a-vis illegal mining and investigate misdeeds by public servants, including ministers.
He also argued that being a preliminary report, there was no need, as per norms, for hearing the then Chief Minister, Ministers and officials who had been indicted.
Hegde said he had only recommended follow-up action (on the report) to the competent authority (the Governor) and he has never given a direction to do so.
He said a lot of hard-work and conviction have gone into preparation of the report and the government was now treating it as a “bunch of useless papers”.
To a question, he agreed the Lokayukta post being vacant was an “advantage to the government”. “Why they are not appointing, I don't know”.
Hegde's successor Justice Shivraj Patil resigned last month after a controversy had erupted over plots owned by him and his wife in the city allegedly in violation of rules.
Hegde slammed the government for constituting a committee, chaired by an Additional Chief Secretary, with officials of Forest and Mines as members, to study his report and suggest action, saying “it's like after judgement is given by the Judge, it's referred to the accused to see whether it's good or bad.”