Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao has stepped down, more than four months after his son Ashwin Rao, 49, was arrested on charges of running an extortion racket from offices of the Lokayukta. Rao’s resignation was accepted by Governor Vajubhai Vala Tuesday.
Rao’s resignation comes after opposition parties BJP and JDS initiated an impeachment motion against him in the Assembly, accusing him of incompetence and misconduct related to his son’s “illegal” activities.
Rao, appointed in 2013, is the second successive Karnataka Lokayukta to exit office in controversial circumstances and before completion of the five-year tenure. Justice Shivaraj Patil had resigned in September 2011 following allegations that he owned property in Bengaluru in violation of rules.
Rao hit headlines in May when an executive engineer in the state government accused his son of demanding Rs 1 crore as bribe for not taking up a corruption case against him. In wake of the allegation, Upa Lokayukta Justice Subhash Adi ordered Lokayukta police to probe the matter.
Following a request from Rao, the Congress government instituted an SIT to probe the allegations againt Ashwin and others. Even as the SIT was being constituted, Lokayukta police registered an FIR against Ashwin, followed by four more complaints of extortion against Ashwin, Lokayukta Public Relations Officer Syed Riyaz and others, including journalists and RTI activists.
The SIT nabbed Ashwin from his flat in Kukatpally near Hyderabad on July 27. After his son’s arrest, Rao went on leave.
The SIT is yet to name Rao in any of the chargesheets filed against Ashwin. It has alleged that Ashwin and his associates used the Lokayukta’s official residence and office conference hall to threaten government officials to pay bribes. Without formally seeking Rao’s removal, the ruling Congress introduced a new law in July to facilitate speedy impeachment of Lokayukta.
With the Opposition bringing an impeachment motion against Rao and the ruling Congress bringing the same motion against Upa Lokayukta Justice Subhash Adi, the institution has been virtually rendered ineffectual as both Rao and Adi are “precluded’’ from carrying out duties.