Karnataka Deputy Lokayukta quits

Bangalore: Barely a month after Justice Shivaraj V Patil resigned as Lokayukta, Justice R Gururajan, one of his two deputies, followed suit on Wednesday citing health. On June 27, Gururajan, a retired high court judge, had taken charge as the second Upa Lokayukta to assist Patil.

The choice was made by then chief minister B S Yeddyurappa in consultation with opposition leaders. Justice Gururajan was in race for the Lokayukta`s along with Justice AM Farooq and Justice Chandrashekaraiah.

In a press statement, Gururajan, after sending his resignation letter to the governor, said: "I assumed the office of Upa Lokayukta, and I did draw a programme to help the needy and rural poor. The media encouraged and supported me. Unfortunately, there are sudden developments in my family circles. We have some health problems, and in these circumstances, in consultation with my family members and well-wishers, I have resigned."

There were media reports that Gururajan owned more than one immovable property in Bangalore. As per the information he has posted on the Karnataka Lokayukta website, he has a 42×60 site in Judicial Layout. He bought it in 2001 and spent Rs 23 lakh on the land and construction of the building. He also has two apartments, including the Chitrapura Society apartment in Malleswaram where he resides.

Gururajan had defended this: "I live in an apartment. The land belongs to the Chitrapura Housing Co-operative Society. I have share certificates. It is like the tenant-membership system which is common in Mumbai. I do not own the land on which the apartment has been built. The structure is on a land leased for 99 years."

The resignation of Gururajan has left the Karnataka Lokayukta, once considered a role model for other states, virtually headless. Only one Upa Lokayukta, SB Majage, who suffered a heart attack a day after he assumed office last year, is in charge of the institution now.