In a major breakthrough in the case related to the alleged extortion racket case operating inside the Karnataka Lokayukta, the SIT on Tuesday arrested a realtor linked to Lokayukta Justice Bhaskar Rao’s son Ashwin Rao. Ashok Kumar, a native of Warrangal and a resident of Bengaluru, who runs a real estate firm, was arrested by the SIT for allegedly making an extortion call to a government executive engineer M N Krishnamurthy in May this year. This was the first arrest by the SIT in the case.
The extortion scam in the Karnataka Lokayukta came to light after a Lokayukta Superintendent of Police (SP- Bengaluru city) Sonia Narang was approached by executive engineer Krishnamurthy with a complaint that a few unidentified persons had summoned him to the Lokayukta office and had demanded Rs one crore to prevent the Lokayukta from pursuing corruption charges against him.
After preliminary investigations, the Lokayukta police had also named Ashwin Rao as the prime accused in the extortion racket in an FIR filed on July 1. The preliminary investigation had revealed that Kumar had called the complainant Krishnamurthy on May 4 and had asked him to come to the Lokayukta office, SIT sources said.
Kumar was also involved in the criminal conspiracy to extort money from Krishnamurthy, police said. He was produced before the 23rd Additional City Civil Court on Tuesday and was remanded to 10 days in police custody for further investigations. “Kumar was actively involved in the scam. Investigation continues to find others involved in the scam,” an official SIT note said.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday adjourned by two weeks a PIL filed by an NGO for handing over the probe into the extortion racket to the CBI. The court also asked Ashwin Rao to await the SIT report after he approached the court seeking a stay on the FIR against him.
The issue of the extortion racket in the Karnataka Lokayukta has rocked the state over the past few weeks and has resulted in widespread calls for the resignation of Lokayukta Justice Bhaskar Rao.