In fresh trouble for Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde has issued a notice to him regarding the controversial denotification of lands after it found a prima facie case following a complaint.
Significantly, Hegde, who is at loggerheads with BJP government for its decision to transfer land denotification probe to a judicial commission, also said in "retrospect" he felt he made a "mistake" by taking back his resignation in June after BJP leader L K Advani had intervened.
"Since we have found a prima facie case in the complaint, we have issued a notice to the chief minister on November 21," he told reporters hereon Saturday.
The anti-corruption watchdog's action has come as a further embarrassment to Yeddyurappa, who only recently survived a threat to his position.
JDS, which has been gunning for Yeddyurappa's removal, had filed the complaint on November 18 seeking probe into denotification of land, including some favouring his family members, which had been notified by Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).
Hegde also rejected allegations of being biased against ruling BJP and favouring some political parties.
He said in all 14 cases had been filed as on date before Lokayukta against the chief minister, including those submitted very recently. "Eight have been closed without even issuing a notice to chief minister and in the remaining six cases, in one case pertaining to denotification of land, notice has been issued."
On government ordering a judicial probe into the alleged land scams when the matter is pending before the Lokayukta, Hegde said, "trying to take away any legitimate investigation without even discussing it is an insult to the institution. It is not at all proper.
"It is an affront to an organisation which is created under a statute. I am not prepared to accept this kind of action from the government or any opposition party."
Hegde, who is also peeved with the government for seeking a status report on various cases entrusted to Lokayukta after he questioned the manner in which a judicial probe was ordered overlooking him, retorted "when there are 39 cases before me - between 2000 to 2010 - why does the government want to know the status of investigation only in seven cases?
"I have no doubt that it is with a view to project me as a pro-JDS or a pro-Congress person. I flatly deny it. I have no such prejudices."
Asked if he would quit in the wake of fresh developments, Hegde said he regretted his earlier decision to withdraw his resignation.
"In retrospect I feel I made a mistake by taking back my resignation. I think I would not have been in the dilemma that I am in today but it's too late.I cannot go on resigning and coming back and resigning and coming back which may not be appreciated by anybody," he said.
Hegde had resigned in June this year after expressing strong displeasure over the government not doing enough to tackle corruption, but retraced his step after relenting to pressure from Advani.