Monthly Archives: September 2015

Karnataka Lokayukta extortion racket: SIT files Second charge sheet against Lokayukta’s son- 25 September 2015

Ashwin had been arrested in July from Hyderabad after Channabasapa lodged a complaint with Lokayukta police, stating that after his meeting with Ashwin, the brokers allegedly told him that he had demanded Rs 20 lakh to settle a corruption case against him.

YB-Rao-1Syed-RIaz-1

The Special Investigation Team of Karnataka police probing a multi-crore extortion racket in the state Lokayukta filed its second chargesheet against Ashwin Rao, son of Lokayukta Justice Bhaskar Rao, on Thursday.

In the 1,572 page chargesheet, the SIT has named Ashwin (49) and the Lokayukta’s PR officer Syed Riyazathullah for an attempt to extort Rs 20 lakh from P B Channabasapa, an executive engineer in the state irrigation department, earlier this year. The two others named in the chargesheet are brokers V Bhaskar and Ashok Kumar who, according to Channabasapa, took him to meet Ashwin.

Last week, the SIT had submitted its first chargesheet related to the extortion racket naming six persons including Ashwin Rao, PR officer Syed Riyazathullah, V Bhaskar, Ashok Kumar, journalist M B Srinivasa Gowda and RTI activist Shankare Gowda as the main accused in an attempt to extort Rs 1 crore from a government engineer M N Krishnamurthy on the Lokayukta office premises. The SIT has so far registered five extortion cases against the Lokayukta’s son and his associates and have arrested 11 persons including Ashwin. Meanwhile, the SIT on Thursday recorded the statement of senior IAS officer Shyam Bhat with regard to an alleged attempt by Ashwin and his aides to extort money from him. Sources said the BDA commissioner had admitted that he was targeted by Ashwin, but had added that he had not made any payment or granted any favours to him.

Ashwin accused number one in SIT’s second chargesheet …

http://www.deccanchronicle.com › Nation › Current Affairs

3 hours ago – The chargesheet has named Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao’s son as … (SIT) probing the Lokayukta extortion case filed its second chargesheet in … It is a water tight chargesheet with clinching evidence against Ashwin and …

Ashwin main accused in SIT’s second chargesheet – The …

timesofindia.indiatimes.com › City › Bengaluru

8 hours ago – The Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the insider corruption and extortion racket in the Lokayukta, filed its second chargesheet on …

Chargesheet Filed Against 4 in Second Case – The New …

http://www.newindianexpress.com/…/ChargesheetFiledAgainstSecond…/arti…

6 hours ago – Chief investigating officer Labhu Ram submitted the chargesheet to Judge V G Bopaiah at his residence in … The chargesheet, running into 1,572 pages, contains charges against Ashwin, V Bhaskar, Ashok Kumar and suspended Lokayukta PRO Syed … This is the second chargesheet against Ashwin.

Lokayukta Scam: SIT to File Chargesheet Today – The New …

http://www.newindianexpress.com/…/LokayuktaFileChargesheet…/article30…

Sep 16, 2015 – BENGALURU: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) will file achargesheet against the six accused in the Lokayukta extortion scam on …

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– See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/karnataka-lokayukta-extortion-racket-sit-files-another-chargesheet-against-lokayuktas-son/#sthash.ayrsrKLa.dpuf

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Arrest Karnataka Lokayukta Bhaskar Rao: Insists former Lokayukta  Justice  Santosh Hegde – 22nd September 2015

MYSURU:  Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao should be arrested for allowing his son indulge in illegal activities in his office, former Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde said on Monday.

He told reporters here that despite knowing that his son Y Ashwin was engaged in illegal activities, the Lokayukta did not stop him. He said the government gave its consent to amend the law on the dismissal of the Lokayukta, but no legislator is coming forward to sign it.

He said as Rao had gone on leave for two months, the government should have given the authority to the Upa Lokayutka.

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http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/Arrest-Bhaskar-Rao-Former-Lokayukta-Justice/2015/09/22/article3040921.ece

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How the Bhaskar Rao case has dismantled the Karnataka Lokayukta – 18 August 2015

How the Bhaskar Rao case has dismantled the Karnataka LokayuktaITU CHAUDHURI DESIGN/CATCH NEWS

LOKAYUKTA SCAM

The scam
  • Karnataka Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao’s son Ashwin and his associates ran an extortion racket
  • They would threaten officials with ‘raids’ and demand money to stop them
  • It is estimated that they made around Rs 200 crore before the lid was blown off the scam
  • They used Rao’s office and residence to run this scam
  • Ashwin and Syed Riyaz, the masterminds, are now in custody

The amendment

  • It was nearly impossible to remove the Lokayukta under the original Act
  • He could only be impeached, like a Supreme Court judge
  • The Karnataka govt brought in an amendment through which the legislature can initiate proceedings
  • This amendment was passed and approved by the governor
  • Rao has clung on to his post till now, but his time seems to be coming to an end

It’s only a matter of time till controversial Karnataka Lokayukta, Justice Yerabati Bhaskar Rao, is shown the door.

Rao refused to resign honourably even after his son Ashwin and his gang were arrested for running a multi-crore blackmail and extortion racket.

The Karnataka government was left with no option but to amend the relevant Act to ease him out of office.

Legislature to begin proceedings

The Karnataka Lokyaukta (Amendment) Bill, 2015 received governor Vajubhai Vala’s assent two days ago and was gazetted on 17 August, making it part of the original Act.

Things are expected to move quickly and the Assembly could be convened for a two-day special session in the first week of September. That’s unless Rao quits voluntarily, seeing the writing on the wall.

Announcing the gazette notification, law and parliamentary affairs minister TB Jayachandra said: “The government has done what it had to do. The decision to remove the Lokayukta is now in the legislators’ court.”

The Assembly session would have been convened earlier, but for the fact that leaders of all political parties are busy with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections, due to be held on 22 August.

Modalities for removal

The amended law requires 75 members of the Assembly and 25 members of the Legislative Council to sign two separate letters, addressed to the Speaker and the Chairman respectively, to initiate a motion for the removal of the Lokayukta.

The BJP leader of the opposition, Jagadish Shettar, said his party legislators will decide in a day or two whether to move the motion immediately or wait till the BBMP elections are over.

Though the BJP has only 45 MLAs in the Assembly, all parties are united on the question of sacking Rao.

The day the motion is moved and accepted by the Speaker, Kagodu Thimmappa, and the Chairman, DH Shankaramurthy, the law provides for “divesting” the Lokayukta of all administrative powers and duties – virtually amounting to his suspension from office.

An amendment needed to remove the Lokayukta received the governor’s assent, and was gazetted on 17 August

Ever since the controversy escalated a month ago, Rao has been on self-imposed exile. But the legislature will de jure keep him away from discharging his duties.

The removal process is a little more elaborate. The Speaker will then write to the Chief Justice of the High Court, asking him to either personally conduct an inquiry into the charges against the Lokayukta or appoint a judge for the purpose.

The court will have to send a report on its findings to the Speaker in two months.

If the report indicts the Lokayukta, legislators will discuss it at a special session; and if the report is accepted in both the houses with two-thirds majority, the Lokayukta stands banished.

How the scam unfolded

Though the scandal has been raging for over three months, Rao has hung on like a leach. The original Act of 1984 provided an iron-clad protection to the office of the Lokayukta, who could be removed only through an impeachment process.

The post of Lokayukta or ombudsman had spread terror among corrupt officials and politicians during Justice Santosh Hegde’s tenure. But Rao’s tenure, which started under the BJP government in 2013, was a complete let down.

While he maintained a very low profile in the first year, some of his officials, led by PRO Syed Riyaz, became hyperactive, opening a secret ‘back channel’ for wheeling and dealing.

Riyaz, a police sub-inspector, buttered his way to an out-of-turn promotion as joint commissioner at the instance of Rao. Riyaz roped in Ashwin, the Lokayukta’s middle-aged son, for all major deals, to give them an ‘official seal’.

Riyaz, Ashwin and their gang would make calls to senior officials and allegedly demand money to prevent ‘raids’.

The gang did not spare even high-ranking secretaries. According to some estimates, the gang had struck over 160 deals, pocketing at least Rs 200 crore, before an upright executive engineer, MN Krishnamurthy, blew the whistle in May when asked to cough up Rs 1 crore.

How the perpetrators were exposed

Krishnamurthy contacted Lokayukta SP Sonia Narang, who quietly made enquiries on her own and dashed off a letter to the registrar.

When Rao also tried to brush things under the carpet, Narang, disregarding her seniors’ counsel, filed an FIR in the High Grounds police station, naming Ashwin as the prime accused.

Rao wrote to the Siddaramaiah government to appoint a special investigation team (SIT), in order to buy time, and his request was accepted.

But the SIT, led by ADGP Kamal Pant, quickly got into the act and arrested three middlemen, before nabbing Ashwin from his father’s apartment in Hyderabad earlier this month. Four others, including Riyaz and V Bhaskar, an accused who has spilled the beans, are also in custody.

The bail application of Ashwin, which came up for hearing before the special Lokayukta court of Justice Bopaiah on 17 August, was rejected. He was remanded to judicial custody till 27 August.

It has now emerged that between January 2014 and June 2015, Rao ‘closed’ around 1,500 cases against officials who were facing various charges of misuse of public funds, sanctioning illegal construction and so on.

Social activists, including 97-year-old Gandhian HS Doreswamy, have expressed apprehensions about so many cases being closed ‘hurriedly’. While they do concede that these could be frivolous complaints which need to be closed, they are demanding a thorough enquiry into the ‘file closer’ in the Lokayukta.

http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/karnataka-amends-lokayukta-act-game-almost-over-for-tainted-bhaskar-rao-1439914729.html

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Karnataka Lokayukta Bhaskar Rao is crucial witness in Lokayukta-In-House corruption racket scam: SIT- -22 Sep 2015

BENGALURU: Lokayukta justice Y Bhaskar Rao, who till now maintained that he had no knowledge of his son’s involvement in the in-house corruption racket, seems to be in trouble.

LA.Bhaskarrao-N.Venkatachala

Photo:- Karnataka Lokayukta Bhaskar Rao with Ex-Lokayukta N. Venkatachala

The chargesheet submitted by the Special Investigating Team (SIT) reveals the Lokayukta was indeed a crucial witness in the scam. In the chargesheet documents available with TOI, the SIT wrote, “Soon after Lokayukta SP Sonia Narang filed an FIR against Krishna Rao alias Ashwin Rao, Bhaskar Rao ordered Sandeep, the official cook at the Lokayukta’s residence, to switch off his mobile and go on leave for 15 days.” The cook, the SIT reveals, acted as an emissary for Ashwin and other accused.

Syed-RIaz-1

Suspended & Jailed Lokayukta PRO Syed Riyaz

The documents say statements by a constable attached to the Lokayukta office reveal that suspended PRO Syed Riyaz wanted to show Narang and Upa Lokayukta justice Subhash B Adi in bad light. “Riyaz collected old allegations against Narang and Justice Adi. Then, through a common friend, Syed passed the news to some journalists in the electronic media and asked them to highlight the issue,” constable Pramod says in his statement.

……………..Rajiv Kalkod & MK Madhusoodan,TNN | Sep 22, 2015, 01.32 AM IST

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/Bhaskar-Rao-is-crucial-witness-in-scam-SIT/articleshow/49052253.cms

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Dis-Proportionate Assets Case against former CJI H.G. Balakrishna: SC seeks A-G’s assistance- 16 Sept 2015

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Attorney-General to assist in a petition seeking a CBI probe into the alleged amassing of wealth by the kith and kin of former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan during his tenure as an apex court judge and National Human Rights Commission Chairperson.

                      Chief Justice of India [ Former ] K.G. Balakrishnan

“Let the learned Attorney-General appear and assist us,” a Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant said.

The Bench then fixed the public interest petition filed by NGO Common Cause for hearing on November 15.

The court, however, said it would not go into the allegations of ‘benami’ transactions, but would look into the alleged income-tax violations. “It is the duty of the Income-Tax officer to find out the source of income. That action has not been taken,” Justice Misra remarked.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, for the NGO, alleged that around 21 properties have been acquired in the names of son, daughter and brother of the former CJI.

Moreover, the queries of the I-T Department on sources of income have not been sufficiently replied to, Mr. Bhushan submitted.

Mr. Bhushan, at the beginning of the hearing, said the prayer in the petition to remove Justice Balakrishnan as Chairperson of the NHRC has been rendered infructuous as he has already demitted office. He blamed the non-listing of the petition for a considerable time as the reason behind it.

Keywords: NHRCK.G. Balakrishnan

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NATIONAL . — NEW DELHI, September 16, 2015 …. Updated: September 16, 2015 02:47 IST

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/case-against-former-cji-sc-seeks-ags-assistance/article7656523.ece

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CJI concerned about violent incidents on Madras HC premises- 21 Sept 2015

  Union Law Minister meets Dattu to discuss the situation.
Madurai District Court advocates burning a helmet as a mark of protest against court's directive to implement the helmet rule strictly. Photo: R. Ashok
The Hindu – Madurai District Court advocates burning a helmet as a mark of protest against court’s directive to implement the helmet rule strictly. Photo: R. Ashok

Union Law Minister D. V. Sadananda Gowda met the Chief Justice on Monday. “I met the Chief Justice to discuss the issue of violence in the Madras High Court,” Mr. Gowda told The Hindu.

Earlier in the day, senior advocate K.K. Venugopal, representing the Madras High Court, requested a Bench of Chief Justice Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy to send a delegation of three judges of the Supreme Court to the Madras High Court to conduct an inquiry.

However, the CJI dismissed the proposal, saying this would only compound the problems faced by the High Court.

“I have had a very long conversation with the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court. For now, let us give him some time,” the CJI told Mr. Venugopal.

The hearing was regarding the High Court’s challenge to a judicial order passed by Justice C. S. Karnan, but digressed to the recent spate of violence and agitations witnessed by the High Court.

Last week, advocates from both Chennai and Madurai, along with children, held processions in court halls when the courts were in session, demanding that Tamil be made the official court language in the High Court. They then barged into the chambers of the judges, disrupting the suo motu contempt proceedings being held against two advocates of the Madurai Bench. The Chief Justice of the High Court was compelled to order Central Industrial Security Force to protect his judges against the lawyers.

Blasting the Madras Bar associations and the Bar Council for keeping mum on the recent violence by lawyers on the Madras High Court premises, the CJI said he had never before seen lawyers stoop to such low levels, bringing down the name and well-woven traditions of a much-respected High Court with them.

Lawyer associations slammed

“[The] Madras HC judges preside in courts with fear psychosis expecting mobs to come in and attack them at anytime. It was once a traditional court that we all looked up to. Never, before has it fallen to such low levels. All because of you lawyers,” Chief Justice Dattu said following advocate Elephant Rajendran making a submission about the unruliness.

“What is your lawyers’ associations doing about all this? What is your Bar Council doing? In Madras you have three bar associations, still they remain silent,” Chief Justice Dattu remarked.

“Lawyers form different groups based on caste. They take processions in court halls with wives and children… unruly mobs shouting slogans and screaming in court halls. They enter the judges’ chambers,” Mr. Venugopal submitted.

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NATIONAL  .. NEW DELHI, September 21, 2015  ….
Updated: September 21, 2015 23:09 IST

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-frowns-at-violence-by-lawyers-in-madras-hc/article7673680.ece

Madras HC violence catches CJI Dattu’s attention after KKV …

barandbench.com/madras-hc-violence-catches-cji-attention-after-kkv-see.

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Karnataka Lokayukta extortion racket PRO Syed Riyaz case: SIT files charge sheet, names 6 people -16 Sep 2015

BENGALURU: The Special Investigation Team (SIT), which probed the allegations of an extortion racket and insider corruption within the Lokayukta or ombudsman of the state, filed its first chargesheet before the Lokayukta court on Wednesday in which it arraigned six accused persons.
Karnataka Lokayukta extortion racket case: SIT files chargesheet, names 6 people
Ashwin Rao, son of Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao being produced at a court August 6.
(TOI photo)
The six accused named by the SIT are joint commissioner and public relations officer (PRO) of Lokayukta Syed Riaz, city-based realtor and middleman Ashok Kumar, Lokayukta justice Y Bhaskar Rao’s son Y Ashwin Rao, self-styled RTI activist V Bhaskar and two private Kannada TV channel journalists Shankare Gowda and Srinivas Gowda. All six has been charged under

Sections 8, 9 and 10 of Prevention of Corruption Act and Sections 385 (extortion), 419 (cheating), 201(causing disappearance of evidence) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

The 1545-page chargesheet contains the statements of 157 witnesses, including justice Y Bhaskar Rao and Lokayukta superintendent of police Sonia Narang. The alleged scam came to light after Narang wrote to the Registrar about the complaint she received that someone from the Lokayukta office demanded Rs 1 crore as bribe to avoid a raid.

The complainant was Bengaluru Urban district executive engineer M N Krishnamurthy who works with the Public Works Department (PWD). The chargesheet contains a large number of documents, mostly taken from the Call Detail Records (CDRs) of the accused and the complainant.

The chargesheet claimed that the accused confessed to the crime during their interrogation. One of the accused, Ashok Kumar, who acted as an agent to Ashwin Rao also told the investigators that it was Riaz who guided them to call Krishnamurthy to come to Lokayukta office and placed the demand for Rs 25 lakh, scaling down from the original demand of Rs 1 crore, as bribe to clear him from corruption case.

Ashwin Rao, Lokayukta’s son, was in July arrested by SIT. The issue had raised a storm both inside and outside the state legislature and there was growing pressure from Opposition parties and various organisations for removal of Rao.

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