July 15, 2015: Our reporter friends, who have covered Karnataka Lokayukta for years, say they never seen Justice Santosh Hegde so angry or upset.
He is out there addressing protesting lawyers and activists, speaking to media, pleading with the government to save institution of Lokayukta.
Till Justice Venkatachala took over, Lokayukta was a sleeping anti-corruption body. He put that in mission mode and did spectacular work, which was famously carried forward by Jutsice Hegde.
Justice Hegde’s tenure, by and large, coincided with the infamous mining scandal and Lokayukta was the agency that was at the centre of the battle against it.
Under these two, Lokayukta became a people’s institution, which went to their rescue when they were in trouble.
It also became a nightmare for bureaucrats and politicians, who did not want an activist Lokayukta. The man who followed Justice Hegde, Justice Bhaskar Rao was just what doctors prescribed.
Under him Lokayukta not only lost its bite, but also got mired in serious corruption charges.
Key officials of Lokayukta, led by Justice Rao’s son Ashwin, have been accused of running of an extortion racket from within the premises of the institution.
Justice Hegde holds Rao responsible for the rot in Lokyukta. The buck stops at the top, he says.
He says among the different jobs he performed over his long and illustrious career, it was the position of Karnataka Lokayukta that gave him the most satisfaction,
Here he is fighting to save the once briefly glorious institution from a damnable extinction.