Bangalore, Apr 21: Karnataka Lokayukta retired Justice Santosh Hegde today said he was reconsidering his decision to be on the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill, apparently upset over the vilification campaign against the anti-graft panel.
"I will be first discussing the issue with my colleagues and will take a decision based on it", Hegde, who had reluctantly agreed to be on the Lokpal committee due to pending work, told PTI.
The former Supreme Court Judge, known for his vigorous campaign against corruption, said the current vilification campaign had put him off.
"Everything stinks," he said referring to "the manner in which the vilification campaign first went against (Anna) Hazare, then against Bhushans (Shanti and son Prasant)."
Hegde, who is due to retire in August as Lokayukta, said, "The anti-corruption crusade has unnerved some sections.
Nobody expected Hazare to get the response he did," he said. "There is no doubt there is an attempt to derail the anti-corruption crusade," Hegde, whose name was initially suggested along with that of former Supreme Court Chief Justice J S Verma to be the panel head by Hazare, said.
Responding to allegations that he was only taking action against others and not against Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who is facing allegations of corruption, he said, "There is no one who has fought Yeddyurappa, the way I have. My hands are tied, yet I have taken action, issued notices, sought explanation."
"If I was not interested I would have transferred the case to the commission," he said. The government has set up a commission of inquiry to probe alleged land scams involving Yeddyurappa and his family.
Asked about his opinion on the Bhushans continuing to be on the panel in the wake of allegations against them and the CD controversy, he said, "I leave it to them."
He said there were two opinions about the genuineness of the CD, "hence it was difficult to comment."
He also wondered as to why the controversial CD which was not brought to public notice before.
"What is the point of time this controversy has actually taken place and the time when this has been released to the press? What is the objective of this?", he asked.
Meanwhile, leading NGO activist Omkar Razdan, who was hospitalised while taking part in the fast-unto-death protest along with Anna Hazare, today demanded that the “tainted” members of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill should voluntarily step down. Razdan, who is associated with NGO Nyaya Bhoomi, said he now finds that no effort or argument was spared to derail the joint committee involved in drafting the legislation within a time-frame.
“Indeed the date, if adhered to, will be a day of liberation from corruption. Even granted that some panel members are tainted with allegations, they should voluntarily ease themselves out and make Hazare's steep climb less painful and result oriented,” Razdan, a former Director General of Air Force Works, said.
He said Hazare cannot sail smoothly in an environment where “corrupt politicians and bureaucrats” have amassed “mountains of wealth”.
Razdan's remarks come in the backdrop of allegations levelled against joint committee members Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan. PTI