In a response to the Karnataka Lokayukta asking 198 Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) corporators to furnish details of their assets and liabilities, the BBMP council has decided to appoint a special counsel to look into the matter.
The Lokayukta, the anti-corruption ombudsman of the Karnataka government, has for long been seeking the details of assets and liabilities of the Bengaluru corporators. Now, Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Vishwanath Shetty has served a notice to the BBMP asking for the same.
Confirming the development, Bengaluru Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun said she had asked all senior corporators in the council to take a final decision on the issue. “I have asked BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad to appoint a special counsel to study the matter before sending in our responses,” she said.
BBMP commissioner Prasad said the counsel would also be given the charge to prepare the report as sought by the Lokayukta. He further said the corporators were liable to furnish the details to the Lokayukta, according to a Supreme Court ruling.
However, corporators have different takes on the issue. Padmanabha Reddy, Kacharakanahalli corporator and leader of opposition in the BBMP Council, believes that an expert counsel would help in having an “in depth” look into the matter. He also said there were differences in the Karnataka Lokayukta Act and the Karnataka Municipal Act (1976).
At the same time, another corporator expressed his dissent on the Lokayukta’s notice and cited the Karnataka Lokayukta Act itself. “As per section 7 of the (Karnataka Lokayukta) Act, the same is applicable only for councillors who draw an honorarium of Rs 20,000 or some. In this case, it is only the mayor who has to furnish these details to the Lokayukta and not councillors like us who draws nothing more than Rs 8,000,” he said.