Bengaluru, Jan 11: Samaj Parivartana Samudaya (SPS) on Tuesday raised the ‘conflict of interest’ angle in the state government's recommendation of Justice P Vishwanath Shetty's name for the post of Lokayukta.
In a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala, SPS said Justice Shetty had appeared for former minister Gali Janardhana Reddy before the Supreme Court in the sensational ‘cash for bail’ scam.
The NGO has said that Justice Shetty had also appeared in the Supreme Court as a senior advocate for Energy Minister D K Shivakumar in his petition seeking quashing of the Lokayukta police chargesheet.
“It is pertinent to mention here that the consideration of Justice Vishwanath Shetty’s name for the post of Lokayukta was not discussed semantically. For, Justice Shetty as a senior counsel in the Supreme Court, has been actively associated with politicians accused of serious cases of corruption. Besides, Justice Shetty has had a long association and background of working for Gali Janardhana Reddy and D K Shivakumar in important cases before the Supreme Court.
Both these cases are still pending before the Supreme Court and some other cases against the same accused are pending before the institution of Lokayukta, Lokayukta police and Lokayukta courts. Now, if appointed as Lokayukta, Justice Shetty will have to fight against the same persons. Which poses a serious conflict of interest,” the memorandum stated. The memorandum has attached documents to substantiate these submissions.
Besides the allotment of a site measuring 9,600 sq ft in Judicial Layout in the name of Justice Shetty in violation of Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) allotment rules, SPS has alleged that Justice Shetty's son has purchased an upmarket apartment from a Cabinet minister in the state government. The memorandum states that Justice Shetty's son, Shashikiran Shetty, a senior advocate, “has purchased an apartment (No 22/A) measuring super built-up area of 2,865 sq ft at Cunningham Road from Water Resources Minister Mallana Goud Basavana Goud Patil (M B Patil) for a consideration amount of Rs 5.75 crore”.
“With the present serious crisis of confidence that this institution (Lokayukta) is facing in recent months, the public will be hesitant and wary of approaching the institution for addressing their grievances. Hence, under the circumstances, we humbly request you not to consider the recommendation until the enquiry into the properties and other matters relating to Justice Vishwanath Shetty and his family members are completed and his name is cleared,” the memorandum stated.
He was CM’s choice: Shettar
Opposition party leaders can only suggest the names for the post of Lokayukta. However, it is the responsibility of the government to select the right candidate, said Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar.
Speaking to mediapersons on Tuesday, he said his party had suggested three names - Justices N K Patil, Anand Byra-reddy and P Vishwanath Shetty - during the committee meeting chaired by the chief minister to select the candidate. However, it was Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who finalised the name of Justice Shetty, who is facing charges of obtaining a residential plot in Judicial Layout in Bengaluru by submitting a false affidavit.
“The provisions in the Lokayukta Act give powers to the Leaders of the Opposition in both Houses and the Chief Justice of the High Court only to suggest names. The final decision rests with the chief minister,” he said. Siddaramaiah said in New Delhi that Justice Shetty had denied all charges and he was the unanimous choice of the selection panel.