K’taka land scam: Lokayukta serves notice to CM

Lokayukta has issued a notice to Yeddyurappa regarding the denotification of lands.

Bangalore: In fresh trouble for Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde has issued a notice to him regarding the controversial denotification of lands after it found a prima facie case following a complaint.

Significantly, Hegde, who is at loggerheads with BJP government for its decision to transfer land denotification probe to a judicial commission, also said in "retrospect" he felt he made a "mistake" by taking back his resignation in June after BJP leader L K Advani had intervened.

"Since we have found a prima facie case in the complaint, we have issued a notice to the Chief Minister on November 21," he told reporters here today.

The anti-corruption watchdog`s action has come as a further embarrassment to Yeddyurappa, who only recently survived a threat to his position.

JDS, which has been gunning for Yeddyurappa`s removal,
had filed the complaint on November 18 seeking probe into
denotification of land, including some favouring his family
members, which had been notified by Bangalore Development
Authority (BDA).

Hegde also rejected allegations of being biased
against ruling BJP and favouring some political parties.

He said in all 14 cases had been filed as on date
before Lokayukta against the Chief Minister, including those
submitted very recently. "Eight have been closed without even
issuing a notice to Chief Minister and in the remaining six
cases, in one case pertaining to denotification of land,
notice has been issued."

On government ordering a judicial probe into the
alleged land scams when the matter is pending before the
Lokayukta, Hegde said, "trying to take away any legitimate
investigation without even discussing it is an insult to the
institution. It is not at all proper.

"It is an affront to an organisation which is created
under a statute. I am not prepared to accept this kind of
action from the government or any opposition party."

Hegde, who is also peeved with the government for
seeking a status report on various cases entrusted to
Lokayukta after he questioned the manner in which a judicial
probe was ordered overlooking him, retorted "when there are 39
cases before me - between 2000 to 2010 - why does the
government want to know the status of investigation only in
seven cases?

"I have no doubt that it is with a view to project me
as a pro-JDS or a pro-Congress person. I flatly deny it. I
have no such prejudices."

Asked if he would quit in the wake of fresh
developments, Hegde said he regretted his earlier decision to
withdraw his resignation.

"In retrospect I feel I made a mistake by taking back
my resignation. I think I would not have been in the dilemma
that I am in today but it`s too late.

I cannot go on resigning and coming back and resigning
and coming back which may not be appreciated by anybody,"
he said.

Hegde had resigned in June this year after expressing
strong displeasure over the government not doing enough to
tackle corruption bowing to pressure from top BJP leaders
including Advani.