Karnataka Opposition Starts Process to Remove Ombudsman

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Bangaluru:  The opposition in Karnataka today petitioned the Speaker, formally initiating the procedure for removal of the state's Lokayukta, Justice Y Bhaskar Rao.

Forty six Bharatiya Janata Party and 37 Janata Dal Secular legislators handed over a memorandum to the assembly speaker seeking the Lokayukta's dismissal.

The Lokayukta Act, amended in July, says the process for 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 will be precluded from discharge of his duties once the motion is moved.

In July, Justice Rao's son Ashwin was arrested 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.

Despite protests and calls for his resignation, Justice Rao has held on to his post.

Leader of the opposition in the Karnataka assembly, Jagdish Shettar of the BJP, confirmed the move to NDTV. "Today we submitted a petition to the honourable Speaker regarding the removal of the Lokayukta, Justice Bhaskar Rao," he said.

The Speaker, Kogodu Thimmappa, will now call a meeting of leaders of all parties to decide the way forward. "Opposition leaders and members have signed and given me the memorandum...According to the law, there should be at least 72 signatures. This has happened. I will call all party leaders and we will discuss how to go ahead on this matter," Mr Thimmappa said.

 


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