Karnataka govt seeks clarifications from Lokayukta

Bangalore: Invoking questions of legality, the BJP government in Karnataka on Thursday sought clarifications from the Lokayukta regarding its report on illegal mining.

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting although the government was quick to point out that it was not questioning the report. "We are not questioning the Lokayukta report," Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs S Suresh Kumar said. The report resulted in the resignation of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and three other ministers from Bellary.

The state government, though, is already racing against time to meet the three-month deadline for furnishing an "Action Taken Report" on the document submitted to it by former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde on July 27. Challenging the recommendations over legal and constitutional provisions, the government has sought to know whether the definition of "public servant" under Section 13 of Lokayukta Act included ministers.

"The Lokayukta has not followed the principle of natural justice while recommending action against the then Chief Minister, who has already quit, and removal of three other ministers", Kumar alleged. The Lokayukta held the probe into illegal mining on a reference by the state government under Section 7 (2) A of the Lokayukta Act and not on a complaint, Kumar said disapproving of the action against political leaders under Section 13 of the Act. .