P Vishwanath Shetty (73) was stabbed inside his chamber at his office here on Wednesday, by a man who had reportedly met him a few times earlier with complaints of negligence against government officials.
The assailant, identified as Tejaraj R (35), a civil contractor from Tumkur, has been arrested. Police sources said Tejaraj had entered the Lokayukta’s chamber to press for redressal of some of his complaints, which had earlier been rejected by Shetty, a retired judge of the Karnataka High Court.
Shetty was reportedly stabbed in the stomach at least three times. He was taken to the Mallya Hospital, where he was reported to be “out of danger”.
A PTI report quoted Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as saying that Shetty was “prima facie out of danger”. “I was shown the weapon. The knife is big. It looks like he has attempted to murder,” he said.
Tejaraj is reported to have met the Lokayukta recently in connection with the closure of eight of his complaints against officials last year.
On Wednesday, when Tejaraj was alone with Shetty inside the latter’s chamber, he reportedly pulled out a knife he was carrying and attacked him. He was later overpowered by staff at the Lokayukta’s office, who arrived on hearing Shetty screaming for help.
Police sources said Tejaraj told security staff outside the Lokayukta’s office that he was a lawyer and wanted to file a complaint. In the visitors’ register, he made an entry as “Tejaraj, Tumkur’’.
On March 27, 2017, Tejaraj had filed complaints of dereliction of duty against eight government officials — the Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI), Tumkur, a senior division assistant in the office of the DDPI in Tumkur, an official of the silk marketing co-operation in Kolar, a clerk in the Tumkur milk union, the manager and managing director of the milk union, a senior division clerk in the commerce and industries department, and a joint director of the sericulture department in Bengaluru. The complaints were reportedly about Tejaraj not being considered for tenders issued by these departments.
While the Lokayukta closed all the eight cases on September 14, 2017, another complaint filed by Tejaraj is reported to be pending. Sources said Tejaraj was obsessive about his complaints and wanted the Lokayukta to take them up. Sources also hinted at the possibility of mental instability.
The Lokayukta in Karnataka, which used to be an anti-corruption ombudsman, has been converted into a good governance ombudsman ever since the office of the Lokayukta was hit by corruption charges in 2015, during the tenure of Justice Bhaskar Rao.
Shetty was appointed the Lokayukta last year after the position fell vacant in December 2015, when Rao resigned in the wake of a move to impeach him for corruption.