March 22: Over three months have passed since the post of uplokayukta went vacant. Authorities say the delay is the result of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s desire to see a fellow Lingayat occupy the post.
Justice S R Bannurmath, who recently retired from the post of chief justice of the Kerala High Court, is said to be his choice for the position.
The idea, officials say, is to bring in Bannurmath as uplokayukta, and eventually elevate him to the lokayukta’s position.
However, as Bannurmath is over qualified for the position, he could be directly appointed lokayukta after Lokayukta Santhosh Hegde retires next year.
Patri Basavana Goud retired as up-lokayukta on December 28, last year, and the government was obligated to find a replacement without allowing a gap.
"The CM is looking at two ways," said a source close to him. "One is to appoint Bannurmath uplokayukta, and later elevate him to the Lokayukta’s position.
The other is to wait for the retirement of the present lokayukta Santhosh Hegde and fill the vacancy by appointing Bannurmath in his place. Hence, the delay," he said.
Hegde said, "I don’t know what’s stopping Yeddyurappa from appointing a uplokayukta. The corruption cases have already crossed 3,000 mark.
I am helpless in addressing a number of such cases as only the up-lokayukta has the authority to address cases involving non-IAS officers."
Hegde wrote a letter to S V Ranganath, the chief secretary a few weeks ago but is yet to receive a response. Ranganath confirmed that he has received the letter sent by the lokayukta.
Letter on CM’s table
"I forwarded the letter to the CM, who has given his assurance that the government would appoint an uplokayukta soon.
A senior officer from CM’s office said, "There are several factors that one has to take into consideration while appointing a Lokayukta or an uplokayukta. I don’t think anyone should read too much into the delay."