We Report, You Decide

Bhardwaj promises action on Lokayukta report

Bangalore: Spelling more trouble for the Karnataka Chief Minister, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Friday indicated that he would take action on the recommendations of State Lokayukta on illegal mining, which had indicted B.S. Yeddyurappa.

“…Whatever he (the Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N. Santosh Hegde) will recommend, I will go according to that. I am not going to do anything (else),” Mr. Bhardwaj told reporters in response to questions on the sidelines of a function in Bangalore.

“I will give my serious thought to whatever he recommends and you will know my action the moment I get the report,” he said, adding, he expects the report to be submitted to the government on Monday.

Mr. Bhardwaj, who has been at loggerheads with Mr. Yeddyurappa, said, “And if as a competent authority, he (the Lokayukta) sends the report to me, then I will deal with it according to the Lokayukta Act (section 12 and 13).”

Asked whether the Chief Minister should resign, he said: “I tell you, you come after two days. You will know every thing”, but hastened to add: “Don’t anticipate. He is the elected Chief Minister. I cannot speak about him unless I see it (the report). How can I reply (now on whether he should resign)?”

Asked if it comes under his purview to take action against the Chief Minister and other ministers vis-à-vis the Lokayukta report, Mr. Bhardwaj said he is the only Constitutional authority to recommend or take action against the government and the Chief Minister.

Asked what action he would take if the report indeed indicted the Chief Minister and four Ministers, the Governor said he would have to see “what’s written about” the Chief Minister, the Ministers and others, adding, all these matters need to be studied.

Mr. Bhardwaj said he respects Mr. Santosh Hegde a lot and has known him since the days he was Advocate General when Ramakrishna Hegde was Karnataka Chief Minister. “I have old friendship with him. He is a very respected (former) judge.“

It was he, after assuming charge as Governor, who raised the (illegal) mining issue but the government kept saying that “nothing is happening”.

Now the Supreme Court itself is dealing with the issue of illegal mining, and the Karnataka government had also asked Mr. Santosh Hegde to probe it.

Noting that the report is yet to be submitted, the Governor said as one who holds constitutional office he cannot comment on the leaked information, and neither can he talk about his proposed action, lest he would be accused of being biased.

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