Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao Resigns

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Bengaluru: Karnataka’s anti-corruption ombudsman or Lokayukta, Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao, has resigned on Monday, sources said.

Raj Bhawan sources said today adding that the governor has accepted his resignation “with immediate effect.” The resignation follows months of clamour for his resignation after allegations that an extortion racket was being run from his office.

Justice Rao’s son Ashwin was arrested in July this year for alleged involvement in extortion and corruption using information gained from the Lokayukta’s office. It was alleged that Ashwin Rao had demanded bribes to stop raids by Lokayukta officials.

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The arrest had triggered demands from Justice Rao’s resignation from several quarters, including former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde and the opposition. After the protests, Justice Rao went on leave in the last week of July but held on to the post. His leave would have ended on December 17.

The state government brought in amendments to the Lokayukta Act to make removing the ombudsman easier. Under the amended law, the removal of the Lokayukta can be initiated if one-third of the legislators in either house sign a motion and present it to the head of the house. The amended law also says the Lokayukta is precluded from discharge of his duties once the motion is moved.

Last month, the opposition petitioned the Karnataka assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa, formally initiating the procedure for Justice Rao’s removal.