September 20th, 2011
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Karnataka Lokayukta Shivraj Patil resigns

karnataka lokayukta Shivraj PatilBangalore: The barely 47-day tenure of Karnataka Lokayukta, Shivaraj V Patil  comes to an abrupt, unceremonious end after he tendered his resignation in the wake of a media exposé that showed irregularities in the allotment of two residential plots to him and his wife. The Supreme Court judge who was made Karnataka’s ombudsman on August 3 succeeding Santosh Hegde, called on Governor H R Bhardwaj and submitted the papers.

He read out a written statement announcing his resignation at a news conference after describing the campaign against him as “malicious”. “This malicious campaign has deeply hurt and pained me. In this uncongenial atmosphere I have deemed it appropriate to submit my resignation,” he said.

“My only discomforting thought is, am I giving up this office yielding to the malicious campaign of a few and letting down the hopes of many who had reposed their faith in me? I would request all to honestly reflect and decide whether they want to fight against corruption or malign the people who take up the fight against corruption,” he said.

“I would like to conclude by cautioning the media that persons who have spent their lifetime with integrity and built a reputation cannot take such a malicious campaign without deep hurt. Consequently, my fear is it will deter honest people from taking up such assignments, which would become a great disservice to the fight against corruption,” he added.

Patil, whose office is required to investigate land scams some of which involve high-profile politicians, himself faced allegations that he and his wife own three plots of land in Bangalore in violation of city bylaws. The politicians included former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who lost his job after Sanoth Hegde indicted him in connection with illegal mining in the state.

Patil faced allegations of violating rules by securing the allotment of a 9,600 sq ft site at the Judicial Employees Layout in 1994 and his wife a 4,200 sq ft site at Nagavara from the Vyalikaval Housing Cooperative Society. His wife had surrendered the site on September 14 after the issue surfaced. He had defended his action saying his wife Annapoorna had purchased the site through “outright sale” and that she was not an allottee as member of the Society.

Patil said that to avoid a public debate he had asked his wife to surrender the site forthwith, without getting into the legality of it. “Accordingly, she addressed a letter to the Society on September 14 to surrender the site registered in her name.” Patil clarified that his wife did not file any affidavit making any false declaration at any point while purchasing the site from the Vyalikaval Housing Society. “Sale being on outright basis, there was absolutely no restriction for the purchase. All the purchases have been through legitimate funds generated and are accounted for,” he said.

The former SC judge said he had purchased the land from a private individual, while the site in judicial layout was alloted to him in 1994 by Karnataka judicial department. Under the norms, the plot allotments violate Sec 10 (a) of the model by-law framed for House Building Cooperative Societies which bars any member or his family who has been allotted a site by a society from getting another in the name of other family members. Patil had defended securing the site for him in the judicial layout, saying the issue of site allotment to judges has been settled by the Supreme Court and the high court.



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