Bangalore, Nov 27: In a blow to Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Lokayukta Santosh Hegde has issued a notice to him, seeking his views on a JDS complaint on denotification of lands, saying there is a prima facie case.
"Since we have found a prima facie case in the complaint, we have issued a notice to the chief minister on November 21," he told reporters here.
The anti-corruption watchdog's action has come as a further embarrassment to Yeddyurappa, who only recently survived a threat to his position.
JDS, which has been gunning for Yeddyurappa's removal, had filed the complaint on November 18 seeking probe into denotification of land, including some favouring his family members, which had been notified by Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).
Hegde, who has been at loggerheads with the Yeddyurappa government accusing it of deciding "unilaterally" to order a judicial probe into alleged land scams when the issue was pending before the Lokayukta, rejected allegations of being biased against ruling BJP and favouring some political parties.
Hegde said in all 14 cases had been filed as on date before Lokayukta against the chief minister, including those submitted very recently. "Eight have been closed without even issuing a notice to chief minister and in the remaining six cases, in one case pertaining to denotification of land, notice has been issued."
Hegde, who is also peeved with the government for seeking a status report on various cases entrusted to Lokayukta after he questioned the manner in which a judicial probe was ordered overlooking him, retorted "when there are 39 cases before me - between 2000 to 2010 - why does the government want to know the status of investigation only in seven cases?
"I have no doubt that it is with a view to project me as a pro-JDS or a pro-Congress person. I flatly deny it. I have no such prejudices."
Hegde attributed the delay in commencing the probe to lack of documents and pendency of some cases before the High Court.
On the seven cases on which government had sought a status report, he said "all necessary measures have been taken...public notices have been given and investigation is already on in these cases."
Expressing displeasure over motives attributed to him by a section of a political party, which he did not name, he said he harboured no prejudice against any party and considered all on equal standing.
"I want to explain my stand to a section of political party attributing malice and prejudice to me. I presume I am taking up investigation against the Chief Minister and members of his cabinet in mortal hurry, all because of collateral reasons. I want to tell them I have no such malice against any political party."
Maintaining that he has been impartial in discharging his duties, Hegde said, "I do not have any hatred against BJP or Chief Minister. If I had any hatred, I would not have closed eight cases without even issuing notices."
On government ordering a judicial probe into the alleged land scams when the matter is pending before the Lokayukta, Hegde said, "trying to take away any legitimate investigation without even discussing it is an insult to the institution. It is not at all proper.
"It is an affront to an organisation which is created under a statute. I am not prepared to accept this kind of action from the government or any opposition party."
Earlier the Lokayukta came under attack from four BJP MLAs for being critical of the Yeddyurappa government.
S R Vishwanath, Satish Reddy, Ramappa Lamani and Suresh Gowda, addressing a press conference, took exception to certain remarks made by Hegde against Yeddyurappa which they termed "pronouncing judgement before finding the guilt of a person".
Vishwanath and Gowda went to the extent of demanding that Hegde tender an apology to the Chief Minister, failing which they would stage a dharna in front of Lokayukta office.
Reacting sharply to the MLAs criticism, Hegde said "they are free to do whatever they want. I will do what is required of me as Lokayukta."
Hegde had also questioned the inaction by the government on various reports submitted to it, including on illegal mining.
Asked if he would quit in the wake of fresh developments, Hegde said he regretted his earlier decision to withdraw his resignation bowing to pressures from BJP top leaders, including L K Advani.
"If I had done that (resignation), I would not have been in a dilemma that I am in today", he said, but declared he would not be resigning again. PTI