Prosecution & suo motu powers to Lokayukta

  • by: Syed Tanveeruddin
  • recipient: Hon'ble Supreme Court, President, PM, Karnataka Guv, CM, Chief Secy,

Last Update: Friday, April 1, 2011
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/karnataka-lokayukta-quits-blames-state-govt/125136-37-64.html - Video 1
http://mizoramexpress.com/index.php/2010/06/mysore-grahakara-calls-for-empowerment-of-lokayukta/
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/getimage.dll?path=TOIBG/2010/06/27/5/Img/Pc0050700.jpg - link to petition photo
http://o3.indiatimes.com/mytimes/archive/2010/06/24/5029878.aspx
Karnataka Lokayukta quits, blames state govt - Politics - Politics ...
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/karnataka-lokayukta-quits-blames-state-govt/125136-37-64.html
Justice Santosh N Hegde resigned as the Chief Lokayukta of Karnataka on Wednesday, saying the Karnataka state was not interested in checking the corruption by the multi-crore mining mafia that is led by the all-powerful Reddy brothers. Reddy brothers are also ministers in the BS Yeddyurappa government.

Justice Hegde also said that corrupt IPS and IAS officers were being reinstated even after he indicted them.

Justice Hegde, a celebrated retired judge of the Supreme Court had been a very active head of the state watchdog - the Lokayukta. His war on corruption at higher levels mainly on Bellary's Reddy brothers had earned him the kudos of the public ever since he took charge four years ago. But, the people in power were not impressed.

"For the last three months I have practically had a nervous breakdown. I have sincerely, sincerely and I am not ashamed to admit before you, I have suffered," said Justice Hegde while addressing the media in Bangalore.

Justice Hegde had conducted a detailed investigation into the mining mafia of Bellary worth over Rs 50,000 crore. But, the state government junked his report. Undeterred Hegde continued his crackdown on mining mafia, corrupt bureaucrats, police and even MLAs across the state.

Some ministers including the Reddy brothers of Bellary even went to extent of targeting him in public. Justice Hegde now says that it is up to the Governor HR Bhardwaj to act on his resignation.

Karnataka Lokayukta quits, blames state govt - Politics News - IBNLive Abhir V P , CNN-IBN Jun 23, 2010
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/karnataka-lokayukta-quits-blames-state-govt/125136-37.html
Justice Santosh N Hegde resigned as the Chief Lokayukta of Karnataka on Wednesday, saying the state was not interested in checking the corruption by the multi-crore mining mafia that is led by the all-powerful Reddy brothers. Reddy brothers are also ministers in the BS Yeddyurappa government.

Justice Hegde also said that corrupt IPS and IAS officers were being reinstated even after he indicted them.

Justice Hegde, a celebrated retired judge of the Supreme Court had been a very active head of the state watchdog - the Lokayukta. His war on corruption at higher levels mainly on Bellary's Reddy brothers had earned him the kudos of the public ever since he took charge four years ago. But, the people in power were not impressed.

"For the last three months I have practically had a nervous breakdown. I have sincerely, sincerely and I am not ashamed to admit before you, I have suffered," said Justice Hegde while addressing the media in Bangalore.

Justice Hegde had conducted a detailed investigation into the mining mafia of Bellary worth over Rs 50,000 crore. But, the state government junked his report. Undeterred Hegde continued his crackdown on mining mafia, corrupt bureaucrats, police and even MLAs across the state.

"Purpose for which a Uplokayukta is not appointed for such a long time only leaves room for various things. I don't want to venture on to that. But the fact remains this institution is no more available for poor people," he said.

Some ministers including the Reddy brothers of Bellary even went to extent of targeting him in public. Justice Hegde now says that it is up to the Governor HR Bhardwaj to act on his resignation.

Ironically, the BJP government is celebrating the completion of two years in power on Friday at a mega event in Bangalore and the resignation of the high-profile Lokayukta has caused a huge embarrassment to the government.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Karnataka-Lokayukta-quits-cites-apathy/articleshow/6084202.cms 
Karnataka Lokayukta quits, cites apathy
The most credible and respected institution in the state of Karnataka fell on Wednesday evening when Lokayukta, Justice N Santosh Hegde, resigned protesting against the state government's apathy in tackling corruption.

Unsurprisingly, as with most things in Karnataka, the role of the mining sector and mining lords had no small role to play in his decision. Adding to the drama, chief minister B S Yeddyurappa virtually disappeared after the Lokayukta announced his resignation.

For the six crore Kannadigas, Hegde was a moral force that drove fear into the hearts of the corrupt, who operate with impunity and disregard the law. Under Hegde, an institution meant to nab corrupt officials had evolved. He was seen by the common people as their saviour, as one who helped them in matters ranging from getting pension to securing school admissions.

Frustrated by his inability to bring to book the corrupt his institution had nabbed, unable to protect his officers from official vindictiveness, and faced with an apathetic government unwilling to fill vacancies like the Upa Lokayukta, a disgusted Hegde quit.

Said Hegde: "If I cannot protect an officer who was obeying me... then I should not be in a position where I give them directives." These were his parting words after tendering a four-line resignation letter to governor H R Bhardwaj.

In his 90-minute news conference, Hegde explained the sequences of events that led him to take the extreme step. "The decision was not taken at the spur of the moment. It is not an emotional outburst. For a long time, I suffered mentally. The government ignored and showed indifference towards Lokayukta institution," he said.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/karnataka-lokayukta-resigns-33478
Karnataka's top crusader quits
Karnataka's top anti-corruption authority has resigned, more than a year before his term ends.

He took on corrupt officers, conducted raids and booked even a ruling party BJP MLA Sampangi for taking bribes. But those, his team raided, were often reinstated in the same post from which they were suspended without consulting him and they were sometimes even rewarded.

"There are many reasons for my resignation, the government has shown deliberate indifference to the functioning of this institution," said Santosh Hegde, Karnataka Lokayukta.

Justice Santosh Hegde took on the powerful Bellary mining lobby, stating in his report last year, that crores of rupees were siphoned away from the state's exchequer through illegal mining.

In the battle against corruption, the high office of the Lokayukta has for now lost a crusading soldier.

Bureaucrats, with blessings of some leaders, run govt  Deccan Herald, Friday, June 25, 2010
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/77350/bureaucrats-blessings-some-leaders-run.html
A day after indicting the B S Yeddyurappa administration for alleged corrupt practices and poor governance, Justice N Santosh Hegde on Thursday said that "the bureaucracy, with the protective hand of a section of leaders", ran the state government.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Justice Hegde said the sorry state of affairs in matters of governance was because the administration was being run by bureaucrats who enjoyed the blessings and protection of a section of (ruling party) leaders. "They don't give a damn".

When asked whether in the backdrop of his description of the entire system as corrupt he would put Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa above board, Justice Hegde cryptically said: "No comments".

Countering Yeddyurappa's claim that he had fulfilled three of his demands -- 30 per cent special allowance for the police force at his disposal, no reinstatement of suspended officials, and additional personnel - Justice Hegde said: "I will show you documents that barring the last none of the demands was met." More specifically, the outgoing Lokayukta said he met Yeddyurappa and the chief secretary in March with a wish-list.

"He acceded to all the three demands and directed the chief secretary to carry them out. I returned to my office feeling triumphant. But later I found that there was only a 15 per cent hike in the special allowance for the police personnel. Also, the recommendation that no suspended official be reinstated was not implemented," Justice Hegde said, adding: "A hero became a zero before his colleagues."

Battle against corruption
Declaring candidly that he "has lost the battle against corruption", Justice Hegde said "it is institutionalised" and is spreading faster than one could imagine.

Describing in detail his office's investigation into the "theft" of over 500,000 metric tonnes of iron ore at Karwar and Belekeri port, Justice Hegde said: "We found that the permits in the possession of the truck drivers were all fake. A deeper probe could have revealed that the ore originated from Bellary, although we did succeed in seizing 40 gunny bags of documents."

Petitions
Pegging the iron ore scam at Rs 2,000 crore, Justice Hegde said: "11 writ petitions were filed in different courts to allow the iron ore to be exported but that did not work."

Questioning the locus standi of State Environment Minister Krishna Palemar, who ordered deputy conservator of forests R Gokul's suspension, Justice Hegde said: "The chief minister says there is no illegal mining in Bellary. Tell me from where did the consignment lifted from Karwar and Belekeri come?"

As for the deputy conservator of forest R Gokul, who was instrumental in seizing the unaccounted for iron ore, Justice Hegde said: "He came to me a few days back when he was served with the suspension order. At that time, I told him I can do nothing for him, though later I felt very guilty.


"It was then that I decided on quitting. If I could not protect an officer, what am I doing as Lokayukta," Justice Hegde asked.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/29931/only-10-per-cent-corruption.html 
Only 10 per cent of corruption is controlled
Continuing his tirade against the State government for not giving power to sue the corrupt officials, Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde said only 10 per cent of corruption has been controlled so far in absence of sufficient powers.

Justice Hegde said the cases are piling up with the government denying him power to take the cases to the court. He said, 18,250 cases of corruption are yet to reach the court of law.

The Lokayukta informed the audience that in the recent months, 350 cases of corruption were exposed by the Lokayukta police but ironically none of these cases go for trial and many corrupt officials got promotion in place of their dismissal from the department.

The Lokayukta has just nine judges hearing cases as opposed to the necessary 16."The message going to the public is that no one can harm corrupt people,"  he said.

Lokayukta indicts BSY govt, quits Deccan Herald, Thu, June 24, 2010
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/77039/lokayukta-indicts-bsy-govt-quits.html 
Justice Santosh Hegde indicates, with instances, that corruption is all pervasive

The country's battle against pervasive corruption and maladministration in government suffered a huge blow as Justice N Santosh Hegde quit as Karnataka Lokayukta on Wednesday, citing helplessness to deliver justice in the face of government non-cooperation.

But just after he tendered his resignation to Governor H R Bhardwaj here on Wednesday evening, Justice Hegde went public with a bare-all, tell-all account of the circumstances that prompted him to give up the losing battle.

The Lokayukta delivered a stinging indictment of the government during a 90-minute-long press conference following the resignation that will come into effect on August 31.

Justice Hegde said the government had been totally non-cooperative with the Lokayukta, be it in its campaign against corruption, maladministration or to deliver justice to scores of aggrieved citizens from across the state.

For the last six months, Justice Hegde said he had repeatedly requested the government to appoint a Upa Lokayukta. It was important to fill the vacancy since complaints had piled up in thousands which only the Upa Lokayukta could address under the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, he said.

However, the government was totally indifferent to the request, he charged. But more damaging was Justice Hedge's charge that the government had defeated the Lokayukta's campaign against corrupt officials. The Lokayukta's recommendations to the government to proceed against corrupt officials had fallen on deaf ears. Scores of bureaucrats caught in cases of corruption were suspended but soon thereafter they were reinstated, sometimes in the same post, he said.

He cited the cases of BESCOM and BBMP officials who were reinstated after suspension. "On many occasions, the officials who had been trapped/raided were reinstated and posted in the same place. Isn't it a slap on my face and on the Lokayukta office," asked Hegde.

Justice Hegde went into some details about the iron ore disappearance scam in Karwar.

Indicting both state and Union governments, he dropped enough hints that the iron ore seized in Karwar, that subsequently "disappeared", might have been shipped out.

He suspected a failed conspiracy to attribute the disappearance to  monsoon.

Worse, he said, the official who was instrumental in seizing the unaccounted iron ore in Karwar at Lokayukta's behest, was subsequently suspended by the government on the flimsy ground of dereliction of duty during a cabinet minister's visit to the district.

The reference was to Karwar DCF R Gokul who along with the Lokayukta had seized iron ore worth crores of rupees from Karwar and Belakeri ports.

The suspended official, Justice Hegde said, had approached him for help. But he was powerless and unable to do anything. "I feel helpless and useless. I cannot be in a chair where I cannot protect my officer," he said.

Going further, he said he was not even been able to protect his colleagues in the Lokayuka from harassment at the hands of the government. "My officers have been suffering and they have faced many threats and have been charged with SC/ST atrocity cases," he said.

Seemingly frustrated with the situation, Justice Hegde said he was "quite disturbed for the last three-and-a-half months and had sleepless nights; when I am not able to give justice to my subordinates, there is no point in continuing in the chair. So this decision..."

Justice Hegde said: "At least now, let the government rectify its mistakes and save the institution by giving enough powers".

A sense of defeat and despair Deccan Herald, Thu, June 24, 2010 http://www.deccanherald.com/content/77142/a-sense-defeat-despair.html
The Lokayukta has finally thrown up his hands in despair. In a typical response, when asked if he was giving up the fight against corruption, Santosh Hegde shot back saying that he had to be "allowed to work" to function effectively.

That summed up the tone of his press conference later, where the Lokayukta expressed his unhappiness at the government blocking his efforts to book corrupt officials. Angry, emotional, resigned.. this was the Lokayukta who vowed to continue his fight against corruption on a different platform.

Expressing his incredulity at an instance where a suspended officer (caught on charges of corruption) was reinstated to the same post, the Lokayukta said senior officers had stated that they were revoking the suspension of the officer because the Lokayukta went to the press in an angry tone against the reinstatement. "Suspension cannot be revoked on the anger or compliments of the Lokayukta," he said.

The Lokayukta made repeated references to feeling powerless and being unable to make any concrete moves towards curbing corruption. "I feel helpless and useless," he declared.

The latest move of the government to suspend an officer in Karwar who had carried out his duties in accordance to the wishes of the Lokayukta was the last straw. The reference was to the DCF of Karwar, R Gokul, who along with Lokayukta had seized iron ore worth crores from Karwar and Belakeri ports. Though Santosh Hegde neither named the officer or the Minister who was trying to get him suspended on the flimsy charges of not having attended a meeting, the Minister in question is allegedly the Environment Minister Krishna Palemar.

Lokayuktaspeak
- Yes, I may be doing injustice to people. It may be the other way round. It may be justice for some others.
- I feel helpless. Merely catching people won't serve any purpose. Reinstating the same officials in the same position and in the same places even after the Chief Minister's assurances of not doing so is a slap on the face of Lokayukta. How would a retired Supreme Court Judge feel about this?
- If you want the Lokayukta institution to survive, appoint a Lokayukta and a Upa Lokayukta.
- At present, the Lokayukta institution is not available for the poor.
- If I can't protect my honest officials, why should I be in power?. My helplessness in not helping honest officials poses physical and professional danger to them.
- The Government neglected, ignored and deliberately overruled the Lokayukta institution.
- I mentally suffered much during the last three months.
- Writing a letter seeking suspension of an honest official is a sin worse than being corrupt.
- Between 8000 to 9000 cases are awaiting action by Upa Lokayukta.
- Three defamation cases were registered against me. Two were dismissed. I will face the third one.

What precipitated his resignation? Deccan Herald, Thu, June 24, 2010
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/77155/what-precipitated-his-resignation.html 
What drove the Lokayukta, Justice N Santosh Hegde to resign suddenly?

While that is a million dollar query, one key factor that forced Hegde's hand could be the State government's move to suspend the deputy conservator of forests of Karwar, R Gokul, who is investigating illegal transportation of ore in Karwar port.

Minister for Ports Inland Water Transport, Ecology and Environment Department, Krishna Palemar recently wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary directing him to take steps to suspend R Gokul as he did not attend a meeting convened by the minister.

The Minister considered Gokul's absence as a 'crime more major than corruption' and sought his suspension. The government decided to suspend Gokul based on Palemar's letter.  Hegde learnt about the letter and decided to quit a couple of days ago, it is learnt.

Scandal
Chief Conservator of Forests U V Singh had unearthed a scandal involving transportation of ore using fake licences by raiding Belekeri port in March this year. Gokul took up the case and started investigations. The Lokayukta and Gokul's team recovered during separate raids eight lakh metric tonnes of ore stored illegally. Bent on repossessing the ore for export, some mining companies approached the High Court. They lost the legal battle, as Gokul presented a spirited case. Meanwhile, five lakh metric tonne ore was found missing. The port officials filed criminal charges against 11 mining companies. The officials managed to get records pertaining to illegal transportation of ore worth Rs 2,500 crore.

"Those people presumed that monsoon would set in the West Coast soon this year. They thought the ore would be mixed in rain drops and would come out. They wanted to use the same and export. However, the monsoon was delayed. Hence, they transported the ore violating all norms," Hegde alleged.

Hegde said, "I had high hopes before taking up the post of Lokayuta but realised that it is not possible to fulfil those dreams. If I had known earlier, I would not have given up the lucrative post of Chairman Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal."

When asked whether his resignation was a gift to the Yeddyurappa government for completing two years. Hegde sarcastically said: "I am not in the habit of giving 'gifts' and that too to politicians."

Time sought
He said he had some unfinished work, reports which are ready and need final touches before submission to the government. While quoting an example, Hegde said Sanjana's parents had full faith in Lokayukta.

"We have almost completed our investigation and it will be submitted in a week's time. I am sure once the report is submitted and the guilty are booked and punished, Sanjana's soul will rest in peace."

More so, without an incumbent, Lokayukta has no entity at all. So, he had sought time till August 31.

"For the last two years, our senior officers, especially police officers have been put to hardship. They have been facing threats. On occasions, they have been charged with SC/ST atrocity cases. Despite, repeatedly bringing it to the notice of the government, they have been deliberately ignored and has been indifferent towards functioning of the institution."

Meeting with CM
On meeting the chief minister, he said, "I have had only one meeting with the chief minister and in the presence of chief secretary." He put forth three demands. One was seeking more powers to the Lokayukta.

"I advised not to reinstate suspended officials and not to continue them in the same office and explained that the officials might tamper with the evidence."

The second demand was revocation of the reinstatement of a Bescom engineer who was suspended. The minister concerned pledged ignorance, and ordered the withdrawal of reinstatement. The third demand was additional grants for police officers in Lokayukta. The demand was conceded.

http://www.zeenews.com/news636030.html
Frustrated with govt inaction, Karnataka Lokayukta quits
Miffed over the state government's failure to empower him, Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde, who was probing the mining mafia of Bellary's powerful Reddy brothers, resigned from his post on Wednesday.

"I don't want to be useless sitting in a position. It is not enough if I catch people. I need powers to bring cases to logical conclusion," Hegde told a news conference shortly after resigning from the post he occupied four years ago.

"I have suffered mentally. There are several instances to show how the government has ignored or deliberately overruled or shown indifference to the institution," he added.

Justice Hegde met state Governor H R Bhardwaj in the evening and submitted his resignation to him. The resignation would be effective August 31.

"Under the Lokayukta Act, when a person is not occupying the post, that post becomes defunct and not vacant. Since the post of Upa Lokayukta remained vacant in the last six months, I will be there till August 31," Hegde said.

In a scathing attack on the government of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Hegde said there were instances of officials suspended over corruption charges being reinstated and posted in the same position.

"This is a slap on my face, on the institution," he said.

Former Supreme Court judge Hegde, like former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice M N Venkatachaliah, had been demanding greater authority from the state government, including suo moto power to probe corrupt officials.

Successive governments in Karnataka have been speaking of empowering the Lokayukta, but no such development has taken place in view of the unified opposition from state bureaucrats and politicians.

Justice Hegde was also frustrated with the state government's attitude of delaying "necessary action" against officials caught on corruption charges the Lokayukta.

Justice Hegde's team, which was probing the activities of Bellary's powerful Reddy brothers' mining mafia, had also prepared a report on illegal mining in the state. The Lokayukta however felt that the state government was not acting in the right direction towards the report.

Justice Hegde said he did not target any lobby but he did take action against illegal mining. Later, while speaking to a news channel, the former SC judge said illegal mining was on in Karnataka on a huge scale.

The Lokayukta said he could have continued in the post enjoying the perks like car with red beacon but he was only following his father's advice that "don't stay in a place where you are made to feel you are unwanted".

Hegde asserted that he will not change his mind even if pressure is brought on him. "This is not a spur of the moment decision, not an emotional one, though I have suffered mentally.

During his tenure, Justice Hegde carried out over 100 successful raids and nabbed many officers having disproportionate assets.

His office had even caught two-time BJP legislator Y Sampangi for allegedly taking a Rs 5 lakh bribe to settle a land dispute in January 2009.

The Lokayukta was snubbed when a seven-member special House panel let off Sampangi in March 2010. The panel, which included four BJP legislators, concluded that "in the absence of sufficient evidences to prove the guilt as registered by the police, it is difficult to say that the member of the House has misused his office or conducted himself in an improper manner".

Justice Hegde had once said that "consecutive governments have not taken the issue of corruption seriously. Amendments are in fact made to dilute law (as in Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988)."

Hegde was appointed as Karnataka Lokayukta on August 3, 2006 for a term of five years and still had 14 months left in his tenure. He was given a public service award from Transparency International for his work.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/karnataka-lokayukta-quits/399201/
Karnataka Lokayukta quits
Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde resigned here today from his post after expressing frustration at the state government's indifference to the institution, a constitutional body set up to curb corruption in bureaucracy.

"I have suffered mentally. There are several instances to show how the government has ignored or deliberately overruled or shown indifference to the institution," he told reporters after resigning. Hegde still had one year to complete his five-year term.

Hegde, appointed to the post in August 2006 for a term of five years, met Governor H R Bhardwaj at Raj Bhavan this evening and submitted a four-line resignation letter. The resignation is effective from August 31 as otherwise the post becomes defunct without an incumbent, Hegde said.

Hegde asserted that he will not change his mind even if pressure is brought on him. "This is not a spur of the moment decision, not an emotional one, though I have suffered mentally.

Attacking the government of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Hegde said there were instances of officials suspended over corruption charges being reinstated and posted in the same position. "This is a slap on my face, on the institution," he said. Hegde%u2019s indictment of the government has come two days ahead of the massive public meeting Yeddyurappa has planned in Bangalore to celebrate two years in office. Yeddyurappa assumed power in May 2008.

Hegde pointed out the office of the Upa Lokayukta (deputy ombudsman) has been vacant for over six months. Around 10,000 cases were pending to be attended to by the Upa Lokayukta, he said.

The Lok Ayukta has powers to deal with the cases involving class one officers and above but he does not have powers to act on his own.


The Upa Lokayukta handles all other cases and has powers to initiate action on his own. "Please see the injustice done to the people (whose complaints can be dealt with only by Upa Lokayukta," Hegde said.


"I have repeatedly written to the government but have not received any answer," he said.

Hegde referred to one case where a cabinet minister wanted an officer to be suspended because his probe had exposed that more than 3.5 million tonnes of iron ore was illegally exported causing massive revenue loss to the government. "I came to know of this on Monday (June 21).That officer came to me seeking help. But I cannot do anything.

"If I cannot protect an officer, who was obeying my or my colleague's orders, why should I continue," Hegde wondered.

"Is this the reward (for an honest officer). My officers have suffered. I decided I should not be there if I cannot be their protector," Hegde said.


He hoped that the government would rectify the situation "so that my successor will be able to do his job. I have some unfinished work, like completing some reports."

Also because the post of Lokayukta cannot be vacant as under the rules it will be defunct without an incumbent," Hegde said.

Since he took over in August 2006, Hegde has conducted more than 100 raids to unearth disproportionate assets of various officials across Karnataka.

Most of the officials exposed by the raids have been suspended, several of them reinstated while conviction has been very few.

Hegde and his predecessor, N Venkatachala had been pressing the government to give them power to initiate probe into corrupt officers on their own. Now they can do so only if they receive a complaint against an official.

Santosh Hegde resigns as Karnataka Lokayukta The Hindu Thu June 24
http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/24/stories/2010062460710100.htm 
Karnataka Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde resigned from the post on Wednesday in "disgust" against the "non-cooperation" by the State Government in his crusade against corruption.

Mr. Hegde met Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and handed over his resignation, which will come into effect on August 31, 2010, at the Raj Bhavan on Wednesday evening.

Explaining the reasons for staying on till August 31, the Lokayukta said he had to complete unfinished work, including submitting a report on THE wall collapse that killed a teenager.

Moreover, with the Upalokayukta's post still vacant, his resignation would render the institution of Lokayukta a nonentity. He hoped that the Government would fill the vacancy by then.

Mr. Hegde's resignation, which is apparently the first time in the country that a Lokayukta has quit after blaming the Government for its failure to prevent corruption in public administration, comes on the eve of the second anniversary celebrations planned by the Yeddyurappa Government.

Mr. Hegde took over as Lokayukta on August 3, 2006, and his term was to end in 2011.

Addressing a press conference, Mr. Hegde cited three reasons for his resignation: non-appointment of the Upalokayukta for the past six months because of which thousands of complaints had piled up; reinstating officers suspended following the Lokayukta's recommendation to the same post after a few months; and a recent recommendation made to the Chief Secretary by a Minister to suspend the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Karwar, who, on the directions of the Lokayukta, had seized eight lakh tonnes of iron ore illegally transported to Belekeri port.

Mr. Hegde said the official who had carried out a commendable investigation of the illegal transport of iron ore to the Belekeri port had brought to Lokayukta's notice the Minister's recommendation and sought his help. "But I told him that I can only provide legal advice if he is suspended."

"I do not know whether the Government has suspended the officer. But this is not the way a Minister should act. Officers will lose their morale if Ministers behave in such a fashion. I thought over all these developments that happened over the past couple of months and decided that I should not continue in the post if I am unable to protect an officer who discharges his duty on my instructions, and also when I am not in a position to perform, not because of my inability but due to non-cooperation by the Government," he said.

Officials shocked
The resignation of Mr. Hegde came as a shock to many in the institution. "I was shocked to hear the news," said the former Upalokayukta N. Patri Basavanagoud.

Earlier, Mr. Hegde had a meeting with the Lokayukta personnel and made his intentions clear. "They were really heartbroken. They asked me to reconsider my decision and not to leave them in the lurch," Mr. Hegde said. "But I explained to them that the institution's integrity would be lost if I continued to function in such a situation."

Minister's letter triggers Lokayukta's resignation The Hindu June 24
http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/24/stories/2010062463150600.htm
Instructions to suspend an officer leads to his exit
Minister's letter triggers Lokayukta's resignation - The Hindu Thu, June 24, 2010 Instructions to suspend an officer leads to his exit
It was a recommendation by Minister for Ports and Environment Krishna J. Palemar to the Chief Secretary to suspend an officer who seized five lakh tonnes of illegally transported iron ore from Belekeri port in Karwar that finally triggered the already-upset Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde's resignation.

"My resignation is neither a decision taken in haste nor an emotional one. I had suffered mentally for the past three months for various reasons... Finally, when I came to know about the letter written by a Minister to suspend an officer who acted on my instruction, I decided to step down as I was not in a position to protect an officer who discharged his duty on my direction," said Justice Hegde narrating the reasons for his resignation.

Though Mr. Hegde did not disclose the name of the Minister, sources in the Government said that it was Mr. Palemar who had written it.

"This is not for the first time that the officers acting on my direction have been targeted. My officers have suffered on many other occasions. I cannot continue to occupy the post when I cannot protect them," he said.

Lorries seized
Mr. Hegde said that the Lokayukta police in February-March had seized 99 lorries that were illegally transporting iron ore to Belekeri and Karwar ports with bogus documents.

They also received information about illegally stacked ore in the ports. As the Lokayukta police had no power to search the ports, he asked R. Gokul, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), Karwar, to take permission from the jurisdictional court and search the port.

The DCF followed the instruction and seized eight lakh tonnes of iron ore after taking permission from court, and the custody of seized ore was handed over to the court, he said.

Eleven companies exporting ore approached the High Court and filed a petition seeking release of seized ore with an undertaking that they would give an indemnity bond to pay the value of the ore if the verdict went against them.

However, they did not get any relief from the High Court.

Media report
Meanwhile, Mr. Hegde said that it was reported in a local newspaper that five lakh tonnes of the seized ore was illegally lifted from the port. Following this, the DCF on the instruction of the Lokayukta, filed another case against the companies and port officials under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code. The DCF also wrote a letter to the Central Vigilance Commission to conduct an inquiry against the customs official who had allowed export of seized ore despite the seized ore being in the custody of the local court.

It was on Monday (June 21) that Mr. Hegde came to know that a Minister had written a letter to the Chief Secretary to suspend the DCF stating that the official had been absent from a meeting convened by the Minister. "The DCF had carried out a good investigation and had supported Lokayukta staff to carry out the probe,' he pointed out.

'Couldn't help'
Mr. Hegde said Mr. Gokul sought his intervention in this regard on Monday. "I told him that I could not speak to anybody about it as I was not in the habit of doing so. I told him that I would give legal advice if he was suspended."

"When I reached my house that day, I realised I could not protect officials who discharge their duties on my directions. I decided that I should not continue in the post as I was already fed up with the continued non-cooperation of the Government," said Mr. Hegde.

'No point'
"I was guided by what my father had taught me. He said one should not stick to one's position when not wanted by others. There is no point in continuing in the post when the Government cares two hoots for me. I can not simply sit and enjoy the facilities given by the Government and draw a salary and perks," said Mr. Hegde.

http://www.timesnow.tv/Karnataka-Lokayukta-Chief-quits/articleshow/4348099.cms 
Karnataka Lokayukta Chief quits
In a sudden development, Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde on Wednesday (June 23) resigned from his post complaining that he did not have adequate powers to take to logical conclusion cases pursued by his agency. "I don't want to be useless sitting in a position. It is not enough if I catch people. I need powers to bring cases to logical conclusion," he told a news conference shortly after news spread about his surprise decision to resign from the post he occupied four years ago.

Hegde, who launched a drive against corrupt officials with frequent raids in the past four years, denied that he was resigning because of a news report telecast by a Kannada TV channel that it was due to a contempt notice against him. "I have not received any contempt notice. The news telecast by the channel is far from truth. I can file a defamation suit against it. It is an option which I will decide," he said. "I have, as you all knew, tendered my resignation from the post of Lokayukta, Karnataka, to his excellency the Governor H R Bhardwaj," the former Supreme Court judge said.

"It is a four-line letter as required under the provisions of the Lokayukta Act. I have tendered my resignation from the post of Lokayukta with effect from August 31, 2010," he said. "Under the Lokayukta Act, when a person is not occupying the post that post becomes defunct and not vacant. Since the post of Upa Lokayukta remained vacant in the last six months, I will be there till August 31," Hegde said. He also said he did not target any lobby but he did take action against illegal mining. Justice Hedge said he could have continued in the post enjoying the perks like car with red beacon but he was only following his father's advice that "don't stay in a place where you are made to feel you are unwanted".

Plain truths Deccan Herald Edit / Editorial Sat, June 26, 2010
The Lokayu-kta must have suo motu powers.
Justice Santosh Hedge has done a great service by speaking the truth while announcing his decision to prematurely quit as Karnataka Lokayukta. While sharing his helplessness, he has exposed the institution of Lokayukta as it has existed for the last 24 years as weak and powerless and cannot effectively discharge its function of fighting corruption and mal-administration in the government. Here was someone who wanted to drive the institution for the purpose for which it was created but found to his dismay that he cannot. The vested interests at every level of government have been so deeply entrenched that they would rather allow a Lokayukta like Justice Hegde to leave in frustration than dig their own graves by heeding to his pleas to strengthen the institution.

Probably, we would never have known the truth had Justice Hegde not gone public with his charge sheet against the government of the day. The political governments that preceded the present one headed by B S Yeddyurappa - and certainly, the bureaucracy - beneficiaries of a powerless Lokayukta. Otherwise, abuse of power would not have progressively worsened over the years. In the face of Justice Hegde%u2019s plain-speaking, citizenry has urged him to take back his resignation and fight from within. While one understands the sentiments behind such pleas, it is not really the way forward. At best Justice Hegde could have continued for another year. The civil society, on the other hand, must exert pressure on the government to address the issues that Justice Hegde has raised to strengthen the Lokayukta institution so that it is empowered enough to become an instrument of promoting good governance. It is important to amend the Lokayukta Act to ensure that the top posts of Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta never remain vacant. As Justice Hegde has pointed out, the Upa Lokayukta post has been vacant for over six months because of which it been unable to address over 9,000 pending public grievances. The Lokayukta must also have powers to initiate probe against erring officials suo motu and, most importantly, the power to prosecute thereafter.

Justice Hegde's resignation has put the incumbent BJP government in poor light. The government has an opportunity to redeem itself in public eyes. But that can happen only if it demonstrates enough courage and sincerity by addressing the substantive issues that the outgoing Lokayukta has raised to empower the institution. No purpose would be served by indulging in a blame-game.

Palemar defends move to suspend Gokul Deccan Herald Fri, June 25
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/77320/palemar-defends-move-suspend-gokul.html
DCF was not obliged to attend meeting
DCF Gokul reportedly decided to keep off the meeting convened by Minister Palemar as it was not a scheduled meeting and he was not obliged to attend it as he did not belong to the departments of ports. Sources in the government said that Palemar had sent a message to Gokul to attend the meeting through Capt Swamy, the port officer of Karwar.

"A police case has been registered against Capt Swamy in connection with the unauthorised ore-lifting case. Gokul was aware that Capt Swamy would be attending the meeting. There are 11 accused export firms. Even the representatives of these companies were present with the minister besides three Stevedores. The Minister is not in charge of Karwar. Then why should the DCF attend the meeting?", the sources questioned.

Ex-Minister behind Palemar's action against forest official? The Hindu, Friday, June 25
http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/25/stories/2010062553180400.htm
A former Minister, who enjoys considerable clout in Dakshina Kannada, is said to be behind Minister for Ports and Environment Krishna Palemar's decision to recommend suspension of Deputy Commissioner of Forests, Karwar, R. Gokul, who raided the Belekeri Port and seized eight lakh tonnes of ore.

Officers privy to the investigations into the illegal transportation of iron ore to Belekeri and Karwar ports said the iron ore seized by Mr. Gokul on March 31 included those pertaining the former minister, who runs a transport company and is connected to a shipping company. Mr. Gokul had not only registered a complaint of illegal transportation, but also registered another FIR when about 5 lakh tonnes of ore was allowed to be exported from the Belekeri Port when the issue was pending before the High Court. The meeting that Mr. Palemar accused Mr. Gokul of skipping is related to the action by the latter in registering the second complaint. The Minister had asked Mr. Gokul to participate in the meeting attended by persons accused of moving the ore from the Belekeri Port. Among those who attended the meeting included the former Minister.

"How can a person who has filed a complaint attend a meeting in which the persons whom he has accused attend?" a senior official questioned.

Rs 2,000-cr scam just tip of iceberg Jun 25, 2010, 07.17am IST
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Rs-2000-cr-scam-just-tip-of-iceberg/articleshow/6088803.cms 
What made minister for environment, ports and inland fishing Krishna Palemar write to chief secretary and chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to suspend DCF Gokul? The officer had unearthed missing iron ore from Bilikere port near Karwar.

It was this letter which was the flashpoint, leading to the resignation of Justice Hegde, who gave "shock treatment" to the government so that "the government will think twice before taking action against the crusader in the case".

According to Justice Hegde himself, the Bilikere port scam exceeds Rs 2,000 crore, contrary to the earlier estimation of over Rs 250 crore. The sequence of events, where the minister wrote the letter to suspend Gokul, clearly hints that it was a deliberate move to hush up the incident and derail the probe.

Copies of Palemar's letters, which are in possession of TOI, say that the minister had called DCF Gokul to discuss the missing ore issue and get details.

Background
The entire scam began in February, when chief conservator of forests U V Singh, who is helping the Lokayukta in the mining probe, intercepted some trucks near Karwar. To their surprise, along with iron ore, they seized 40 gunny bags of 'iron ore transport permits'. They also received information that more illegal iron ore had reached Bilikere port.

In March, local DCF Gokul was asked to raid the port, and he seized over 8 lakh metric tonne of illegal iron ore, which was dumped in the dockyard without a valid permit. The forest department seized the ore and filed cases against 10 mining companies. The ore was under custody of an ACF, customs officials and port officials.

Soon aftere, the 10 companies approached the high court, seeking release of the ore. However, they did not get a favourable order and the court asked them to file objections as to why Lokayukta should not be party to this case. Instead of filing objections, the entire ore was shipped away from the port itself.

"They must have presumed that the monsoon would set in, and officials could say that the ore dumped in the dockyard was washed away in the high tide. But the monsoon set in late and the scam came out," Justice Hegde said.

Immediately, Justice Hegde asked Gokul to file a criminal contempt of court case against the 10 companies, along with theft and breach of trust cases. Despite pressure, Gokul went ahead and filed the case, which got him into trouble. According to sources, Palemar was in the forefront, pressuring Gokul not to lodge a complaint against the mining companies. When Gokul did not budge, he wrote a letter to the government.
Meanwhile, the Lokayukta team investigating the illegal ore export from Bilikere found out that the missing 5 lakh metric tonne of ore was just the tip of the iceberg. %u201CNow, we are sitting on so much information, and during the past three months, iron ore worth over Rs 2,000 crore was illegally exported from the same port. Worse is that they have not paid any customs duty. Now, it is confirmed that 40 bags of iron ore transport permits that were seized in February, are fake. We are not sure what to do with this information," the sources added.

The hurt crusader Times of India, Jun 24, 2010, 05.56am
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Bangalore/The-hurt-crusader/articleshow/6084579.cms
Apart from handling the corrupt, Hegde has made his power felt in almost everything - right from nailing the corrupt bureaucrats with nearly 1,000 cases of traps and raids to helping the disabled and senior citizens to get monthly remuneration from the government.

Lokayukta will keep up pressure on govt Times of India, Jun 26, 2010, 07.08am IST
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Lokayukta-will-keep-up-pressure-on-govt/articleshow/6093643.cms 
There are undoubtedly many in the echelons of power who heaved secret sighs of relief at the exit of Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde. The most relieved would be the mining mafia and bureaucrats.

Justice Hegde is determined to ensure a safer future for the Lokayukta, and also force the government%u2019s hand in restructuring the institution. "At the moment, it is not built on the Lokayukta Act. They have created two posts, called Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta. The jobs of both are defined, and in the absence of any one, the other cannot carry out his function.

If both Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta are not there, the institution becomes defunct. That is exactly what this BJP government wants," Justice Hegde told TOI. For the past six months, the Upa Lokayukta post has been vacant and not a single raid could be conducted on corrupt officials. Raids on Class II officers and below come under the Upa Lokayukta and in his absence, the Lokayukta could not order any raids. Besides, the Lokayukta could not act on over 3,000 applications from poor people, as they also came under the Upa Lokayukta.

Opposition slams BJP for Lokayukta's exit The Hindu Thu, June 24, 2010
http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/24/stories/2010062463110600.htm

BJP to make a public appeal to Hegde The Hindu, Thu, June 24, 2010
http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/24/stories/2010062459410400.htm 
Several leaders of the party felt that the resignation was waiting to happen as the Government had not responded positively to his request for empowerment.

Activists come out in support of Santosh Hegde The Hindu, Fri, June 25
http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/25/stories/2010062551560300.htm
Immediate appointment of Upalokayukta sought
Members of several organisations have come out in support of Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde who tendered his resignation citing non-cooperation by the State Government in his crusade against corruption.

The activists assembled at K.R. Circle and raised slogans against the Government. They criticised the State Government and said that corruption had gone up since the BJP assumed power in Karnataka two years ago. They also accused Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa of weakening the efforts of the Lokayukta to curb corrupt practices.

Praising Mr. Hegde's efforts to curb corruption, the Karnataka Kavalu Pade demanded that the Government immediately appoint the Upalokayukta, take steps to prosecute corrupt officials and not interfere in its (Lokayukta's) functioning. The activists warned of an agitation if the Lokayukta was demeaned.

The State Sugarcane Cultivators' Association also condemned the BJP Government for creating circumstances which forced the Lokayukta to quit. In a press release, the association said that the resignation of the Lokayukta was a message to the people of the State that no Government supported the drive against corruption.

The association said if the Government was interested in curbing corruption, it should immediately give more power and authority to the office of the Lokayukta and announce it during the ensuing legislature session.

Conclusion:
We the petition signers request those concerned to
01) Appoint the Upa Lokayukta at the earliest.
02) Give prosecution and suo motu powers to the Lokayukta.
(If the Lokayukta has suo motu powers, it can speedily take up investigations on its own without waiting for someone to file a complaint.)
03) Dismiss the corrupt government officials from service.
04) Retain Justice Mr. Santosh Hegde after accepting his demands / requests.
05) Dismiss the corrupt politicians from the legislatures / councils.

We also request those concerned to accept all the requests made to the state government by Justice Santosh Hedge as soon as he'd taken over as the Lokayukta chief
01) Give power of suspending and revoking suspension of corrupt officials.
02) Amend Section 36 of CrPC to confer police power on the Lokayukta.
03) Give suo motu powers to investigate Class I officials as well as politicians, who come under the Lokayukta purview.

We also request Justice Mr. Santosh Hegde to continue as the Lokayukta Chief if the Karnataka state government gives prosecution powers to the Lokayukta.

Last Update: Friday, April 1, 2011
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/karnataka-lokayukta-quits-blames-state-govt/125136-37-64.html - Video 1
http://mizoramexpress.com/index.php/2010/06/mysore-grahakara-calls-for-empowerment-of-lokayukta/
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/getimage.dll?path=TOIBG/2010/06/27/5/Img/Pc0050700.jpg - link to petition photo
http://o3.indiatimes.com/mytimes/archive/2010/06/24/5029878.aspx
Karnataka Lokayukta quits, blames state govt - Politics - Politics ...
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/karnataka-lokayukta-quits-blames-state-govt/125136-37-64.html
Justice Santosh N Hegde resigned as the Chief Lokayukta of Karnataka on Wednesday, saying the Karnataka state was not interested in checking the corruption by the multi-crore mining mafia that is led by the all-powerful Reddy brothers. Reddy brothers are also ministers in the BS Yeddyurappa government.

Justice Hegde also said that corrupt IPS and IAS officers were being reinstated even after he indicted them.

Justice Hegde, a celebrated retired judge of the Supreme Court had been a very active head of the state watchdog - the Lokayukta. His war on corruption at higher levels mainly on Bellary's Reddy brothers had earned him the kudos of the public ever since he took charge four years ago. But, the people in power were not impressed.

"For the last three months I have practically had a nervous breakdown. I have sincerely, sincerely and I am not ashamed to admit before you, I have suffered," said Justice Hegde while addressing the media in Bangalore.

Justice Hegde had conducted a detailed investigation into the mining mafia of Bellary worth over Rs 50,000 crore. But, the state government junked his report. Undeterred Hegde continued his crackdown on mining mafia, corrupt bureaucrats, police and even MLAs across the state.

Some ministers including the Reddy brothers of Bellary even went to extent of targeting him in public. Justice Hegde now says that it is up to the Governor HR Bhardwaj to act on his resignation.

Karnataka Lokayukta quits, blames state govt - Politics News - IBNLive Abhir V P , CNN-IBN Jun 23, 2010
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/karnataka-lokayukta-quits-blames-state-govt/125136-37.html
Justice Santosh N Hegde resigned as the Chief Lokayukta of Karnataka on Wednesday, saying the state was not interested in checking the corruption by the multi-crore mining mafia that is led by the all-powerful Reddy brothers. Reddy brothers are also ministers in the BS Yeddyurappa government.

Justice Hegde also said that corrupt IPS and IAS officers were being reinstated even after he indicted them.

Justice Hegde, a celebrated retired judge of the Supreme Court had been a very active head of the state watchdog - the Lokayukta. His war on corruption at higher levels mainly on Bellary's Reddy brothers had earned him the kudos of the public ever since he took charge four years ago. But, the people in power were not impressed.

"For the last three months I have practically had a nervous breakdown. I have sincerely, sincerely and I am not ashamed to admit before you, I have suffered," said Justice Hegde while addressing the media in Bangalore.

Justice Hegde had conducted a detailed investigation into the mining mafia of Bellary worth over Rs 50,000 crore. But, the state government junked his report. Undeterred Hegde continued his crackdown on mining mafia, corrupt bureaucrats, police and even MLAs across the state.

"Purpose for which a Uplokayukta is not appointed for such a long time only leaves room for various things. I don't want to venture on to that. But the fact remains this institution is no more available for poor people," he said.

Some ministers including the Reddy brothers of Bellary even went to extent of targeting him in public. Justice Hegde now says that it is up to the Governor HR Bhardwaj to act on his resignation.

Ironically, the BJP government is celebrating the completion of two years in power on Friday at a mega event in Bangalore and the resignation of the high-profile Lokayukta has caused a huge embarrassment to the government.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Karnataka-Lokayukta-quits-cites-apathy/articleshow/6084202.cms 
Karnataka Lokayukta quits, cites apathy
The most credible and respected institution in the state of Karnataka fell on Wednesday evening when Lokayukta, Justice N Santosh Hegde, resigned protesting against the state government's apathy in tackling corruption.

Unsurprisingly, as with most things in Karnataka, the role of the mining sector and mining lords had no small role to play in his decision. Adding to the drama, chief minister B S Yeddyurappa virtually disappeared after the Lokayukta announced his resignation.

For the six crore Kannadigas, Hegde was a moral force that drove fear into the hearts of the corrupt, who operate with impunity and disregard the law. Under Hegde, an institution meant to nab corrupt officials had evolved. He was seen by the common people as their saviour, as one who helped them in matters ranging from getting pension to securing school admissions.

Frustrated by his inability to bring to book the corrupt his institution had nabbed, unable to protect his officers from official vindictiveness, and faced with an apathetic government unwilling to fill vacancies like the Upa Lokayukta, a disgusted Hegde quit.

Said Hegde: "If I cannot protect an officer who was obeying me... then I should not be in a position where I give them directives." These were his parting words after tendering a four-line resignation letter to governor H R Bhardwaj.

In his 90-minute news conference, Hegde explained the sequences of events that led him to take the extreme step. "The decision was not taken at the spur of the moment. It is not an emotional outburst. For a long time, I suffered mentally. The government ignored and showed indifference towards Lokayukta institution," he said.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/karnataka-lokayukta-resigns-33478
Karnataka's top crusader quits
Karnataka's top anti-corruption authority has resigned, more than a year before his term ends.

He took on corrupt officers, conducted raids and booked even a ruling party BJP MLA Sampangi for taking bribes. But those, his team raided, were often reinstated in the same post from which they were suspended without consulting him and they were sometimes even rewarded.

"There are many reasons for my resignation, the government has shown deliberate indifference to the functioning of this institution," said Santosh Hegde, Karnataka Lokayukta.

Justice Santosh Hegde took on the powerful Bellary mining lobby, stating in his report last year, that crores of rupees were siphoned away from the state's exchequer through illegal mining.

In the battle against corruption, the high office of the Lokayukta has for now lost a crusading soldier.

Bureaucrats, with blessings of some leaders, run govt  Deccan Herald, Friday, June 25, 2010
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/77350/bureaucrats-blessings-some-leaders-run.html
A day after indicting the B S Yeddyurappa administration for alleged corrupt practices and poor governance, Justice N Santosh Hegde on Thursday said that "the bureaucracy, with the protective hand of a section of leaders", ran the state government.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Justice Hegde said the sorry state of affairs in matters of governance was because the administration was being run by bureaucrats who enjoyed the blessings and protection of a section of (ruling party) leaders. "They don't give a damn".

When asked whether in the backdrop of his description of the entire system as corrupt he would put Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa above board, Justice Hegde cryptically said: "No comments".

Countering Yeddyurappa's claim that he had fulfilled three of his demands -- 30 per cent special allowance for the police force at his disposal, no reinstatement of suspended officials, and additional personnel - Justice Hegde said: "I will show you documents that barring the last none of the demands was met." More specifically, the outgoing Lokayukta said he met Yeddyurappa and the chief secretary in March with a wish-list.

"He acceded to all the three demands and directed the chief secretary to carry them out. I returned to my office feeling triumphant. But later I found that there was only a 15 per cent hike in the special allowance for the police personnel. Also, the recommendation that no suspended official be reinstated was not implemented," Justice Hegde said, adding: "A hero became a zero before his colleagues."

Battle against corruption
Declaring candidly that he "has lost the battle against corruption", Justice Hegde said "it is institutionalised" and is spreading faster than one could imagine.

Describing in detail his office's investigation into the "theft" of over 500,000 metric tonnes of iron ore at Karwar and Belekeri port, Justice Hegde said: "We found that the permits in the possession of the truck drivers were all fake. A deeper probe could have revealed that the ore originated from Bellary, although we did succeed in seizing 40 gunny bags of documents."

Petitions
Pegging the iron ore scam at Rs 2,000 crore, Justice Hegde said: "11 writ petitions were filed in different courts to allow the iron ore to be exported but that did not work."

Questioning the locus standi of State Environment Minister Krishna Palemar, who ordered deputy conservator of forests R Gokul's suspension, Justice Hegde said: "The chief minister says there is no illegal mining in Bellary. Tell me from where did the consignment lifted from Karwar and Belekeri come?"

As for the deputy conservator of forest R Gokul, who was instrumental in seizing the unaccounted for iron ore, Justice Hegde said: "He came to me a few days back when he was served with the suspension order. At that time, I told him I can do nothing for him, though later I felt very guilty.


"It was then that I decided on quitting. If I could not protect an officer, what am I doing as Lokayukta," Justice Hegde asked.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/29931/only-10-per-cent-corruption.html 
Only 10 per cent of corruption is controlled
Continuing his tirade against the State government for not giving power to sue the corrupt officials, Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde said only 10 per cent of corruption has been controlled so far in absence of sufficient powers.

Justice Hegde said the cases are piling up with the government denying him power to take the cases to the court. He said, 18,250 cases of corruption are yet to reach the court of law.

The Lokayukta informed the audience that in the recent months, 350 cases of corruption were exposed by the Lokayukta police but ironically none of these cases go for trial and many corrupt officials got promotion in place of their dismissal from the department.

The Lokayukta has just nine judges hearing cases as opposed to the necessary 16."The message going to the public is that no one can harm corrupt people,"  he said.

Lokayukta indicts BSY govt, quits Deccan Herald, Thu, June 24, 2010
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/77039/lokayukta-indicts-bsy-govt-quits.html 
Justice Santosh Hegde indicates, with instances, that corruption is all pervasive

The country's battle against pervasive corruption and maladministration in government suffered a huge blow as Justice N Santosh Hegde quit as Karnataka Lokayukta on Wednesday, citing helplessness to deliver justice in the face of government non-cooperation.

But just after he tendered his resignation to Governor H R Bhardwaj here on Wednesday evening, Justice Hegde went public with a bare-all, tell-all account of the circumstances that prompted him to give up the losing battle.

The Lokayukta delivered a stinging indictment of the government during a 90-minute-long press conference following the resignation that will come into effect on August 31.

Justice Hegde said the government had been totally non-cooperative with the Lokayukta, be it in its campaign against corruption, maladministration or to deliver justice to scores of aggrieved citizens from across the state.

For the last six months, Justice Hegde said he had repeatedly requested the government to appoint a Upa Lokayukta. It was important to fill the vacancy since complaints had piled up in thousands which only the Upa Lokayukta could address under the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, he said.

However, the government was totally indifferent to the request, he charged. But more damaging was Justice Hedge's charge that the government had defeated the Lokayukta's campaign against corrupt officials. The Lokayukta's recommendations to the government to proceed against corrupt officials had fallen on deaf ears. Scores of bureaucrats caught in cases of corruption were suspended but soon thereafter they were reinstated, sometimes in the same post, he said.

He cited the cases of BESCOM and BBMP officials who were reinstated after suspension. "On many occasions, the officials who had been trapped/raided were reinstated and posted in the same place. Isn't it a slap on my face and on the Lokayukta office," asked Hegde.

Justice Hegde went into some details about the iron ore disappearance scam in Karwar.

Indicting both state and Union governments, he dropped enough hints that the iron ore seized in Karwar, that subsequently "disappeared", might have been shipped out.

He suspected a failed conspiracy to attribute the disappearance to  monsoon.

Worse, he said, the official who was instrumental in seizing the unaccounted iron ore in Karwar at Lokayukta's behest, was subsequently suspended by the government on the flimsy ground of dereliction of duty during a cabinet minister's visit to the district.

The reference was to Karwar DCF R Gokul who along with the Lokayukta had seized iron ore worth crores of rupees from Karwar and Belakeri ports.

The suspended official, Justice Hegde said, had approached him for help. But he was powerless and unable to do anything. "I feel helpless and useless. I cannot be in a chair where I cannot protect my officer," he said.

Going further, he said he was not even been able to protect his colleagues in the Lokayuka from harassment at the hands of the government. "My officers have been suffering and they have faced many threats and have been charged with SC/ST atrocity cases," he said.

Seemingly frustrated with the situation, Justice Hegde said he was "quite disturbed for the last three-and-a-half months and had sleepless nights; when I am not able to give justice to my subordinates, there is no point in continuing in the chair. So this decision..."

Justice Hegde said: "At least now, let the government rectify its mistakes and save the institution by giving enough powers".

A sense of defeat and despair Deccan Herald, Thu, June 24, 2010 http://www.deccanherald.com/content/77142/a-sense-defeat-despair.html
The Lokayukta has finally thrown up his hands in despair. In a typical response, when asked if he was giving up the fight against corruption, Santosh Hegde shot back saying that he had to be "allowed to work" to function effectively.

That summed up the tone of his press conference later, where the Lokayukta expressed his unhappiness at the government blocking his efforts to book corrupt officials. Angry, emotional, resigned.. this was the Lokayukta who vowed to continue his fight against corruption on a different platform.

Expressing his incredulity at an instance where a suspended officer (caught on charges of corruption) was reinstated to the same post, the Lokayukta said senior officers had stated that they were revoking the suspension of the officer because the Lokayukta went to the press in an angry tone against the reinstatement. "Suspension cannot be revoked on the anger or compliments of the Lokayukta," he said.

The Lokayukta made repeated references to feeling powerless and being unable to make any concrete moves towards curbing corruption. "I feel helpless and useless," he declared.

The latest move of the government to suspend an officer in Karwar who had carried out his duties in accordance to the wishes of the Lokayukta was the last straw. The reference was to the DCF of Karwar, R Gokul, who along with Lokayukta had seized iron ore worth crores from Karwar and Belakeri ports. Though Santosh Hegde neither named the officer or the Minister who was trying to get him suspended on the flimsy charges of not having attended a meeting, the Minister in question is allegedly the Environment Minister Krishna Palemar.

Lokayuktaspeak
- Yes, I may be doing injustice to people. It may be the other way round. It may be justice for some others.
- I feel helpless. Merely catching people won't serve any purpose. Reinstating the same officials in the same position and in the same places even after the Chief Minister's assurances of not doing so is a slap on the face of Lokayukta. How would a retired Supreme Court Judge feel about this?
- If you want the Lokayukta institution to survive, appoint a Lokayukta and a Upa Lokayukta.
- At present, the Lokayukta institution is not available for the poor.
- If I can't protect my honest officials, why should I be in power?. My helplessness in not helping honest officials poses physical and professional danger to them.
- The Government neglected, ignored and deliberately overruled the Lokayukta institution.
- I mentally suffered much during the last three months.
- Writing a letter seeking suspension of an honest official is a sin worse than being corrupt.
- Between 8000 to 9000 cases are awaiting action by Upa Lokayukta.
- Three defamation cases were registered against me. Two were dismissed. I will face the third one.

What precipitated his resignation? Deccan Herald, Thu, June 24, 2010
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/77155/what-precipitated-his-resignation.html 
What drove the Lokayukta, Justice N Santosh Hegde to resign suddenly?

While that is a million dollar query, one key factor that forced Hegde's hand could be the State government's move to suspend the deputy conservator of forests of Karwar, R Gokul, who is investigating illegal transportation of ore in Karwar port.

Minister for Ports Inland Water Transport, Ecology and Environment Department, Krishna Palemar recently wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary directing him to take steps to suspend R Gokul as he did not attend a meeting convened by the minister.

The Minister considered Gokul's absence as a 'crime more major than corruption' and sought his suspension. The government decided to suspend Gokul based on Palemar's letter.  Hegde learnt about the letter and decided to quit a couple of days ago, it is learnt.

Scandal
Chief Conservator of Forests U V Singh had unearthed a scandal involving transportation of ore using fake licences by raiding Belekeri port in March this year. Gokul took up the case and started investigations. The Lokayukta and Gokul's team recovered during separate raids eight lakh metric tonnes of ore stored illegally. Bent on repossessing the ore for export, some mining companies approached the High Court. They lost the legal battle, as Gokul presented a spirited case. Meanwhile, five lakh metric tonne ore was found missing. The port officials filed criminal charges against 11 mining companies. The officials managed to get records pertaining to illegal transportation of ore worth Rs 2,500 crore.

"Those people presumed that monsoon would set in the West Coast soon this year. They thought the ore would be mixed in rain drops and would come out. They wanted to use the same and export. However, the monsoon was delayed. Hence, they transported the ore violating all norms," Hegde alleged.

Hegde said, "I had high hopes before taking up the post of Lokayuta but realised that it is not possible to fulfil those dreams. If I had known earlier, I would not have given up the lucrative post of Chairman Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal."

When asked whether his resignation was a gift to the Yeddyurappa government for completing two years. Hegde sarcastically said: "I am not in the habit of giving 'gifts' and that too to politicians."

Time sought
He said he had some unfinished work, reports which are ready and need final touches before submission to the government. While quoting an example, Hegde said Sanjana's parents had full faith in Lokayukta.

"We have almost completed our investigation and it will be submitted in a week's time. I am sure once the report is submitted and the guilty are booked and punished, Sanjana's soul will rest in peace."

More so, without an incumbent, Lokayukta has no entity at all. So, he had sought time till August 31.

"For the last two years, our senior officers, especially police officers have been put to hardship. They have been facing threats. On occasions, they have been charged with SC/ST atrocity cases. Despite, repeatedly bringing it to the notice of the government, they have been deliberately ignored and has been indifferent towards functioning of the institution."

Meeting with CM
On meeting the chief minister, he said, "I have had only one meeting with the chief minister and in the presence of chief secretary." He put forth three demands. One was seeking more powers to the Lokayukta.

"I advised not to reinstate suspended officials and not to continue them in the same office and explained that the officials might tamper with the evidence."

The second demand was revocation of the reinstatement of a Bescom engineer who was suspended. The minister concerned pledged ignorance, and ordered the withdrawal of reinstatement. The third demand was additional grants for police officers in Lokayukta. The demand was conceded.

http://www.zeenews.com/news636030.html
Frustrated with govt inaction, Karnataka Lokayukta quits
Miffed over the state government's failure to empower him, Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde, who was probing the mining mafia of Bellary's powerful Reddy brothers, resigned from his post on Wednesday.

"I don't want to be useless sitting in a position. It is not enough if I catch people. I need powers to bring cases to logical conclusion," Hegde told a news conference shortly after resigning from the post he occupied four years ago.

"I have suffered mentally. There are several instances to show how the government has ignored or deliberately overruled or shown indifference to the institution," he added.

Justice Hegde met state Governor H R Bhardwaj in the evening and submitted his resignation to him. The resignation would be effective August 31.

"Under the Lokayukta Act, when a person is not occupying the post, that post becomes defunct and not vacant. Since the post of Upa Lokayukta remained vacant in the last six months, I will be there till August 31," Hegde said.

In a scathing attack on the government of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Hegde said there were instances of officials suspended over corruption charges being reinstated and posted in the same position.

"This is a slap on my face, on the institution," he said.

Former Supreme Court judge Hegde, like former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice M N Venkatachaliah, had been demanding greater authority from the state government, including suo moto power to probe corrupt officials.

Successive governments in Karnataka have been speaking of empowering the Lokayukta, but no such development has taken place in view of the unified opposition from state bureaucrats and politicians.

Justice Hegde was also frustrated with the state government's attitude of delaying "necessary action" against officials caught on corruption charges the Lokayukta.

Justice Hegde's team, which was probing the activities of Bellary's powerful Reddy brothers' mining mafia, had also prepared a report on illegal mining in the state. The Lokayukta however felt that the state government was not acting in the right direction towards the report.

Justice Hegde said he did not target any lobby but he did take action against illegal mining. Later, while speaking to a news channel, the former SC judge said illegal mining was on in Karnataka on a huge scale.

The Lokayukta said he could have continued in the post enjoying the perks like car with red beacon but he was only following his father's advice that "don't stay in a place where you are made to feel you are unwanted".

Hegde asserted that he will not change his mind even if pressure is brought on him. "This is not a spur of the moment decision, not an emotional one, though I have suffered mentally.

During his tenure, Justice Hegde carried out over 100 successful raids and nabbed many officers having disproportionate assets.

His office had even caught two-time BJP legislator Y Sampangi for allegedly taking a Rs 5 lakh bribe to settle a land dispute in January 2009.

The Lokayukta was snubbed when a seven-member special House panel let off Sampangi in March 2010. The panel, which included four BJP legislators, concluded that "in the absence of sufficient evidences to prove the guilt as registered by the police, it is difficult to say that the member of the House has misused his office or conducted himself in an improper manner".

Justice Hegde had once said that "consecutive governments have not taken the issue of corruption seriously. Amendments are in fact made to dilute law (as in Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988)."

Hegde was appointed as Karnataka Lokayukta on August 3, 2006 for a term of five years and still had 14 months left in his tenure. He was given a public service award from Transparency International for his work.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/karnataka-lokayukta-quits/399201/
Karnataka Lokayukta quits
Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde resigned here today from his post after expressing frustration at the state government's indifference to the institution, a constitutional body set up to curb corruption in bureaucracy.

"I have suffered mentally. There are several instances to show how the government has ignored or deliberately overruled or shown indifference to the institution," he told reporters after resigning. Hegde still had one year to complete his five-year term.

Hegde, appointed to the post in August 2006 for a term of five years, met Governor H R Bhardwaj at Raj Bhavan this evening and submitted a four-line resignation letter. The resignation is effective from August 31 as otherwise the post becomes defunct without an incumbent, Hegde said.

Hegde asserted that he will not change his mind even if pressure is brought on him. "This is not a spur of the moment decision, not an emotional one, though I have suffered mentally.

Attacking the government of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Hegde said there were instances of officials suspended over corruption charges being reinstated and posted in the same position. "This is a slap on my face, on the institution," he said. Hegde%u2019s indictment of the government has come two days ahead of the massive public meeting Yeddyurappa has planned in Bangalore to celebrate two years in office. Yeddyurappa assumed power in May 2008.

Hegde pointed out the office of the Upa Lokayukta (deputy ombudsman) has been vacant for over six months. Around 10,000 cases were pending to be attended to by the Upa Lokayukta, he said.

The Lok Ayukta has powers to deal with the cases involving class one officers and above but he does not have powers to act on his own.


The Upa Lokayukta handles all other cases and has powers to initiate action on his own. "Please see the injustice done to the people (whose complaints can be dealt with only by Upa Lokayukta," Hegde said.


"I have repeatedly written to the government but have not received any answer," he said.

Hegde referred to one case where a cabinet minister wanted an officer to be suspended because his probe had exposed that more than 3.5 million tonnes of iron ore was illegally exported causing massive revenue loss to the government. "I came to know of this on Monday (June 21).That officer came to me seeking help. But I cannot do anything.

"If I cannot protect an officer, who was obeying my or my colleague's orders, why should I continue," Hegde wondered.

"Is this the reward (for an honest officer). My officers have suffered. I decided I should not be there if I cannot be their protector," Hegde said.


He hoped that the government would rectify the situation "so that my successor will be able to do his job. I have some unfinished work, like completing some reports."

Also because the post of Lokayukta cannot be vacant as under the rules it will be defunct without an incumbent," Hegde said.

Since he took over in August 2006, Hegde has conducted more than 100 raids to unearth disproportionate assets of various officials across Karnataka.

Most of the officials exposed by the raids have been suspended, several of them reinstated while conviction has been very few.

Hegde and his predecessor, N Venkatachala had been pressing the government to give them power to initiate probe into corrupt officers on their own. Now they can do so only if they receive a complaint against an official.

Santosh Hegde resigns as Karnataka Lokayukta The Hindu Thu June 24
http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/24/stories/2010062460710100.htm 
Karnataka Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde resigned from the post on Wednesday in "disgust" against the "non-cooperation" by the State Government in his crusade against corruption.

Mr. Hegde met Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and handed over his resignation, which will come into effect on August 31, 2010, at the Raj Bhavan on Wednesday evening.

Explaining the reasons for staying on till August 31, the Lokayukta said he had to complete unfinished work, including submitting a report on THE wall collapse that killed a teenager.

Moreover, with the Upalokayukta's post still vacant, his resignation would render the institution of Lokayukta a nonentity. He hoped that the Government would fill the vacancy by then.

Mr. Hegde's resignation, which is apparently the first time in the country that a Lokayukta has quit after blaming the Government for its failure to prevent corruption in public administration, comes on the eve of the second anniversary celebrations planned by the Yeddyurappa Government.

Mr. Hegde took over as Lokayukta on August 3, 2006, and his term was to end in 2011.

Addressing a press conference, Mr. Hegde cited three reasons for his resignation: non-appointment of the Upalokayukta for the past six months because of which thousands of complaints had piled up; reinstating officers suspended following the Lokayukta's recommendation to the same post after a few months; and a recent recommendation made to the Chief Secretary by a Minister to suspend the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Karwar, who, on the directions of the Lokayukta, had seized eight lakh tonnes of iron ore illegally transported to Belekeri port.

Mr. Hegde said the official who had carried out a commendable investigation of the illegal transport of iron ore to the Belekeri port had brought to Lokayukta's notice the Minister's recommendation and sought his help. "But I told him that I can only provide legal advice if he is suspended."

"I do not know whether the Government has suspended the officer. But this is not the way a Minister should act. Officers will lose their morale if Ministers behave in such a fashion. I thought over all these developments that happened over the past couple of months and decided that I should not continue in the post if I am unable to protect an officer who discharges his duty on my instructions, and also when I am not in a position to perform, not because of my inability but due to non-cooperation by the Government," he said.

Officials shocked
The resignation of Mr. Hegde came as a shock to many in the institution. "I was shocked to hear the news," said the former Upalokayukta N. Patri Basavanagoud.

Earlier, Mr. Hegde had a meeting with the Lokayukta personnel and made his intentions clear. "They were really heartbroken. They asked me to reconsider my decision and not to leave them in the lurch," Mr. Hegde said. "But I explained to them that the institution's integrity would be lost if I continued to function in such a situation."

Minister's letter triggers Lokayukta's resignation The Hindu June 24
http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/24/stories/2010062463150600.htm
Instructions to suspend an officer leads to his exit
Minister's letter triggers Lokayukta's resignation - The Hindu Thu, June 24, 2010 Instructions to suspend an officer leads to his exit
It was a recommendation by Minister for Ports and Environment Krishna J. Palemar to the Chief Secretary to suspend an officer who seized five lakh tonnes of illegally transported iron ore from Belekeri port in Karwar that finally triggered the already-upset Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde's resignation.

"My resignation is neither a decision taken in haste nor an emotional one. I had suffered mentally for the past three months for various reasons... Finally, when I came to know about the letter written by a Minister to suspend an officer who acted on my instruction, I decided to step down as I was not in a position to protect an officer who discharged his duty on my direction," said Justice Hegde narrating the reasons for his resignation.

Though Mr. Hegde did not disclose the name of the Minister, sources in the Government said that it was Mr. Palemar who had written it.

"This is not for the first time that the officers acting on my direction have been targeted. My officers have suffered on many other occasions. I cannot continue to occupy the post when I cannot protect them," he said.

Lorries seized
Mr. Hegde said that the Lokayukta police in February-March had seized 99 lorries that were illegally transporting iron ore to Belekeri and Karwar ports with bogus documents.

They also received information about illegally stacked ore in the ports. As the Lokayukta police had no power to search the ports, he asked R. Gokul, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), Karwar, to take permission from the jurisdictional court and search the port.

The DCF followed the instruction and seized eight lakh tonnes of iron ore after taking permission from court, and the custody of seized ore was handed over to the court, he said.

Eleven companies exporting ore approached the High Court and filed a petition seeking release of seized ore with an undertaking that they would give an indemnity bond to pay the value of the ore if the verdict went against them.

However, they did not get any relief from the High Court.

Media report
Meanwhile, Mr. Hegde said that it was reported in a local newspaper that five lakh tonnes of the seized ore was illegally lifted from the port. Following this, the DCF on the instruction of the Lokayukta, filed another case against the companies and port officials under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code. The DCF also wrote a letter to the Central Vigilance Commission to conduct an inquiry against the customs official who had allowed export of seized ore despite the seized ore being in the custody of the local court.

It was on Monday (June 21) that Mr. Hegde came to know that a Minister had written a letter to the Chief Secretary to suspend the DCF stating that the official had been absent from a meeting convened by the Minister. "The DCF had carried out a good investigation and had supported Lokayukta staff to carry out the probe,' he pointed out.

'Couldn't help'
Mr. Hegde said Mr. Gokul sought his intervention in this regard on Monday. "I told him that I could not speak to anybody about it as I was not in the habit of doing so. I told him that I would give legal advice if he was suspended."

"When I reached my house that day, I realised I could not protect officials who discharge their duties on my directions. I decided that I should not continue in the post as I was already fed up with the continued non-cooperation of the Government," said Mr. Hegde.

'No point'
"I was guided by what my father had taught me. He said one should not stick to one's position when not wanted by others. There is no point in continuing in the post when the Government cares two hoots for me. I can not simply sit and enjoy the facilities given by the Government and draw a salary and perks," said Mr. Hegde.

http://www.timesnow.tv/Karnataka-Lokayukta-Chief-quits/articleshow/4348099.cms 
Karnataka Lokayukta Chief quits
In a sudden development, Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde on Wednesday (June 23) resigned from his post complaining that he did not have adequate powers to take to logical conclusion cases pursued by his agency. "I don't want to be useless sitting in a position. It is not enough if I catch people. I need powers to bring cases to logical conclusion," he told a news conference shortly after news spread about his surprise decision to resign from the post he occupied four years ago.

Hegde, who launched a drive against corrupt officials with frequent raids in the past four years, denied that he was resigning because of a news report telecast by a Kannada TV channel that it was due to a contempt notice against him. "I have not received any contempt notice. The news telecast by the channel is far from truth. I can file a defamation suit against it. It is an option which I will decide," he said. "I have, as you all knew, tendered my resignation from the post of Lokayukta, Karnataka, to his excellency the Governor H R Bhardwaj," the former Supreme Court judge said.

"It is a four-line letter as required under the provisions of the Lokayukta Act. I have tendered my resignation from the post of Lokayukta with effect from August 31, 2010," he said. "Under the Lokayukta Act, when a person is not occupying the post that post becomes defunct and not vacant. Since the post of Upa Lokayukta remained vacant in the last six months, I will be there till August 31," Hegde said. He also said he did not target any lobby but he did take action against illegal mining. Justice Hedge said he could have continued in the post enjoying the perks like car with red beacon but he was only following his father's advice that "don't stay in a place where you are made to feel you are unwanted".

Plain truths Deccan Herald Edit / Editorial Sat, June 26, 2010
The Lokayu-kta must have suo motu powers.
Justice Santosh Hedge has done a great service by speaking the truth while announcing his decision to prematurely quit as Karnataka Lokayukta. While sharing his helplessness, he has exposed the institution of Lokayukta as it has existed for the last 24 years as weak and powerless and cannot effectively discharge its function of fighting corruption and mal-administration in the government. Here was someone who wanted to drive the institution for the purpose for which it was created but found to his dismay that he cannot. The vested interests at every level of government have been so deeply entrenched that they would rather allow a Lokayukta like Justice Hegde to leave in frustration than dig their own graves by heeding to his pleas to strengthen the institution.

Probably, we would never have known the truth had Justice Hegde not gone public with his charge sheet against the government of the day. The political governments that preceded the present one headed by B S Yeddyurappa - and certainly, the bureaucracy - beneficiaries of a powerless Lokayukta. Otherwise, abuse of power would not have progressively worsened over the years. In the face of Justice Hegde%u2019s plain-speaking, citizenry has urged him to take back his resignation and fight from within. While one understands the sentiments behind such pleas, it is not really the way forward. At best Justice Hegde could have continued for another year. The civil society, on the other hand, must exert pressure on the government to address the issues that Justice Hegde has raised to strengthen the Lokayukta institution so that it is empowered enough to become an instrument of promoting good governance. It is important to amend the Lokayukta Act to ensure that the top posts of Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta never remain vacant. As Justice Hegde has pointed out, the Upa Lokayukta post has been vacant for over six months because of which it been unable to address over 9,000 pending public grievances. The Lokayukta must also have powers to initiate probe against erring officials suo motu and, most importantly, the power to prosecute thereafter.

Justice Hegde's resignation has put the incumbent BJP government in poor light. The government has an opportunity to redeem itself in public eyes. But that can happen only if it demonstrates enough courage and sincerity by addressing the substantive issues that the outgoing Lokayukta has raised to empower the institution. No purpose would be served by indulging in a blame-game.

Palemar defends move to suspend Gokul Deccan Herald Fri, June 25
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/77320/palemar-defends-move-suspend-gokul.html
DCF was not obliged to attend meeting
DCF Gokul reportedly decided to keep off the meeting convened by Minister Palemar as it was not a scheduled meeting and he was not obliged to attend it as he did not belong to the departments of ports. Sources in the government said that Palemar had sent a message to Gokul to attend the meeting through Capt Swamy, the port officer of Karwar.

"A police case has been registered against Capt Swamy in connection with the unauthorised ore-lifting case. Gokul was aware that Capt Swamy would be attending the meeting. There are 11 accused export firms. Even the representatives of these companies were present with the minister besides three Stevedores. The Minister is not in charge of Karwar. Then why should the DCF attend the meeting?", the sources questioned.

Ex-Minister behind Palemar's action against forest official? The Hindu, Friday, June 25
http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/25/stories/2010062553180400.htm
A former Minister, who enjoys considerable clout in Dakshina Kannada, is said to be behind Minister for Ports and Environment Krishna Palemar's decision to recommend suspension of Deputy Commissioner of Forests, Karwar, R. Gokul, who raided the Belekeri Port and seized eight lakh tonnes of ore.

Officers privy to the investigations into the illegal transportation of iron ore to Belekeri and Karwar ports said the iron ore seized by Mr. Gokul on March 31 included those pertaining the former minister, who runs a transport company and is connected to a shipping company. Mr. Gokul had not only registered a complaint of illegal transportation, but also registered another FIR when about 5 lakh tonnes of ore was allowed to be exported from the Belekeri Port when the issue was pending before the High Court. The meeting that Mr. Palemar accused Mr. Gokul of skipping is related to the action by the latter in registering the second complaint. The Minister had asked Mr. Gokul to participate in the meeting attended by persons accused of moving the ore from the Belekeri Port. Among those who attended the meeting included the former Minister.

"How can a person who has filed a complaint attend a meeting in which the persons whom he has accused attend?" a senior official questioned.

Rs 2,000-cr scam just tip of iceberg Jun 25, 2010, 07.17am IST
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Rs-2000-cr-scam-just-tip-of-iceberg/articleshow/6088803.cms 
What made minister for environment, ports and inland fishing Krishna Palemar write to chief secretary and chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to suspend DCF Gokul? The officer had unearthed missing iron ore from Bilikere port near Karwar.

It was this letter which was the flashpoint, leading to the resignation of Justice Hegde, who gave "shock treatment" to the government so that "the government will think twice before taking action against the crusader in the case".

According to Justice Hegde himself, the Bilikere port scam exceeds Rs 2,000 crore, contrary to the earlier estimation of over Rs 250 crore. The sequence of events, where the minister wrote the letter to suspend Gokul, clearly hints that it was a deliberate move to hush up the incident and derail the probe.

Copies of Palemar's letters, which are in possession of TOI, say that the minister had called DCF Gokul to discuss the missing ore issue and get details.

Background
The entire scam began in February, when chief conservator of forests U V Singh, who is helping the Lokayukta in the mining probe, intercepted some trucks near Karwar. To their surprise, along with iron ore, they seized 40 gunny bags of 'iron ore transport permits'. They also received information that more illegal iron ore had reached Bilikere port.

In March, local DCF Gokul was asked to raid the port, and he seized over 8 lakh metric tonne of illegal iron ore, which was dumped in the dockyard without a valid permit. The forest department seized the ore and filed cases against 10 mining companies. The ore was under custody of an ACF, customs officials and port officials.

Soon aftere, the 10 companies approached the high court, seeking release of the ore. However, they did not get a favourable order and the court asked them to file objections as to why Lokayukta should not be party to this case. Instead of filing objections, the entire ore was shipped away from the port itself.

"They must have presumed that the monsoon would set in, and officials could say that the ore dumped in the dockyard was washed away in the high tide. But the monsoon set in late and the scam came out," Justice Hegde said.

Immediately, Justice Hegde asked Gokul to file a criminal contempt of court case against the 10 companies, along with theft and breach of trust cases. Despite pressure, Gokul went ahead and filed the case, which got him into trouble. According to sources, Palemar was in the forefront, pressuring Gokul not to lodge a complaint against the mining companies. When Gokul did not budge, he wrote a letter to the government.
Meanwhile, the Lokayukta team investigating the illegal ore export from Bilikere found out that the missing 5 lakh metric tonne of ore was just the tip of the iceberg. %u201CNow, we are sitting on so much information, and during the past three months, iron ore worth over Rs 2,000 crore was illegally exported from the same port. Worse is that they have not paid any customs duty. Now, it is confirmed that 40 bags of iron ore transport permits that were seized in February, are fake. We are not sure what to do with this information," the sources added.

The hurt crusader Times of India, Jun 24, 2010, 05.56am
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Bangalore/The-hurt-crusader/articleshow/6084579.cms
Apart from handling the corrupt, Hegde has made his power felt in almost everything - right from nailing the corrupt bureaucrats with nearly 1,000 cases of traps and raids to helping the disabled and senior citizens to get monthly remuneration from the government.

Lokayukta will keep up pressure on govt Times of India, Jun 26, 2010, 07.08am IST
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Lokayukta-will-keep-up-pressure-on-govt/articleshow/6093643.cms 
There are undoubtedly many in the echelons of power who heaved secret sighs of relief at the exit of Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde. The most relieved would be the mining mafia and bureaucrats.

Justice Hegde is determined to ensure a safer future for the Lokayukta, and also force the government%u2019s hand in restructuring the institution. "At the moment, it is not built on the Lokayukta Act. They have created two posts, called Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta. The jobs of both are defined, and in the absence of any one, the other cannot carry out his function.

If both Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta are not there, the institution becomes defunct. That is exactly what this BJP government wants," Justice Hegde told TOI. For the past six months, the Upa Lokayukta post has been vacant and not a single raid could be conducted on corrupt officials. Raids on Class II officers and below come under the Upa Lokayukta and in his absence, the Lokayukta could not order any raids. Besides, the Lokayukta could not act on over 3,000 applications from poor people, as they also came under the Upa Lokayukta.

Opposition slams BJP for Lokayukta's exit The Hindu Thu, June 24, 2010
http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/24/stories/2010062463110600.htm

BJP to make a public appeal to Hegde The Hindu, Thu, June 24, 2010
http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/24/stories/2010062459410400.htm 
Several leaders of the party felt that the resignation was waiting to happen as the Government had not responded positively to his request for empowerment.

Activists come out in support of Santosh Hegde The Hindu, Fri, June 25
http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/25/stories/2010062551560300.htm
Immediate appointment of Upalokayukta sought
Members of several organisations have come out in support of Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde who tendered his resignation citing non-cooperation by the State Government in his crusade against corruption.

The activists assembled at K.R. Circle and raised slogans against the Government. They criticised the State Government and said that corruption had gone up since the BJP assumed power in Karnataka two years ago. They also accused Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa of weakening the efforts of the Lokayukta to curb corrupt practices.

Praising Mr. Hegde's efforts to curb corruption, the Karnataka Kavalu Pade demanded that the Government immediately appoint the Upalokayukta, take steps to prosecute corrupt officials and not interfere in its (Lokayukta's) functioning. The activists warned of an agitation if the Lokayukta was demeaned.

The State Sugarcane Cultivators' Association also condemned the BJP Government for creating circumstances which forced the Lokayukta to quit. In a press release, the association said that the resignation of the Lokayukta was a message to the people of the State that no Government supported the drive against corruption.

The association said if the Government was interested in curbing corruption, it should immediately give more power and authority to the office of the Lokayukta and announce it during the ensuing legislature session.

Conclusion:
We the petition signers request those concerned to
01) Appoint the Upa Lokayukta at the earliest.
02) Give prosecution and suo motu powers to the Lokayukta.
(If the Lokayukta has suo motu powers, it can speedily take up investigations on its own without waiting for someone to file a complaint.)
03) Dismiss the corrupt government officials from service.
04) Retain Justice Mr. Santosh Hegde after accepting his demands / requests.
05) Dismiss the corrupt politicians from the legislatures / councils.

We also request those concerned to accept all the requests made to the state government by Justice Santosh Hedge as soon as he'd taken over as the Lokayukta chief
01) Give power of suspending and revoking suspension of corrupt officials.
02) Amend Section 36 of CrPC to confer police power on the Lokayukta.
03) Give suo motu powers to investigate Class I officials as well as politicians, who come under the Lokayukta purview.

We also request Justice Mr. Santosh Hegde to continue as the Lokayukta Chief if the Karnataka state government gives prosecution powers to the Lokayukta.

Sign Petition
Sign Petition
You have JavaScript disabled. Without it, our site might not function properly.

privacy policy

By signing, you accept Care2's terms of service.
You can manage your email subscriptions at any time.

Having problems signing this? Let us know.