Karnataka Lokayukta Wrote 20 Times For More Security, Says Justice Hegde

I am concerned about the security provided to the Karnataka Lokayukta office, Justice Santosh Hegde told NDTV

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Better security was not provided to the Karnataka Lokayukta, said Justice Hegde


Bengaluru:  Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Vishwanath Shetty had written 20 times to authorities asking for more security, according to Justice Santosh Hegde who once headed the anti-corruption body in the state.

"I am concerned about the security provided to the Lokayukta office," Justice Hegde told NDTV outside a private hospital where Justice Shetty was being treated after being stabbed five times today in his office.

The accused, Tejraj Sharma, was taken into custody by the police soon after what the Bengaluru police commissioner said was a premeditated attack.

But questions over the failure of security to the office of the anti-corruption ombudsman remain. Justice Shetty (74), a retired high court judge, took charge as Lokayukta in January last year.

"I believe the Lokayukta office has written about 20 letters, and the single metal detector that was there was not working for the last two-three years. And he had asked for more security maybe apprehending this problem. And that was not provided. That has to be looked into and necessary steps taken. This shows the action of the government towards the Lokayukta institution," said Justice Hegde.

Assembly elections in Karnataka are due in just months, and the opposition BJP is using the attack as a weapon against the Congress government, saying it is part of the breakdown in law and order.

But Justice Hegde does not agree with that assessment. "I would not go into the state's law and order. I don't think this incident reflects the downfall of the law and order situation," said Justice Hedge, who quit as Lokayukta in 2010 due to "non-cooperation by the government".

Justice Hegde was one of the most proactive and respected Lokayuktas in the state. He was behind a report on illegal iron ore mining in Ballari district that named several leaders from different political parties as being involved in the scam running into thousands of crores.

The charges in the report meant that then BJP chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, was forced to step down from his post. Mr Yeddyurappa, who spent about three weeks in jail in 2011 in connection with the corruption case, was acquitted in 2016.


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