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Karnataka Lokayukta decides to withdraw resignation

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 03, 2010 19:23 IST
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Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde has decided to withdraw his resignation.

The top anti-corruption official had resigned to protest the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government's inaction about several of his reports, specially the one about the illegal mining lobby operating in Karnataka.

"If Governor H R Bhardwaj gives me time, I will meet him on Sunday to withdraw my resignation," Hegde, whose resignation had created a political furore in the state, told reporters.

Hegde's announcement came shortly after BJP president Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa called on him and urged him to reconsider his decision. Veteran leader L K Advani also made a similar appeal.

"The respect I have for L K Advani has forced me to withdraw my resignation. It is not out of political pressure that I took this decision," Hegde, known for his crusade against corruption, said.

In his appeal issued in Delhi, Advani said, "I have known Justice Santosh Hegde for a long time. He is an eminent jurist for whom all of us have great respect. As Lokayukta of Karnataka, he has certain concerns, and I am sure the state government of Karnataka will address them earnestly."

Gadkari and Yeddyurpapa, in their meeting with Hegde, detailed the steps the government had taken on the illegal mining and promised to consider certain issues raised by him.

A delegation of senior BJP leaders from the state, including unit president K S Eswarappa and Law Minister Suresh Kumar, had on Friday met Hedge in an attempt to mollify him. But the former Supreme Court judge had remained firm on his decision to demit office from August 31.

Gadkari and Yeddyurappa thanked Hegde for accepting their request.

"I express my heartfelt thanks to Santosh Hegde. Advani has assured him that the party and the state government will cooperate with him," Gadkari said.

Explaining his decision, Hegde said Advani had not only requested him to withdraw his resignation, but also sent a message that the Karnataka government will consider his demands on strengthening the anti-corruption watchdog.

"For me, Advani is like a father. He was a close friend of my father (former Lok Sabha Speaker late K S Hegde). I cannot go against his wish. I have to accede to his request. Not for any political reasons, but because of my love and respect for Advani, I have decided to withdraw my resignation," he said.

Hegde said Gadkari and Yeddyurpapa met him and "promised to consider certain demands raised by me. I am totally happy and satisfied with the assurance".

He said Yeddyurappa had given him a copy of the letter written by him to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking a policy decision to either ban the export of iron ore or regulate its exports.

Asked whether he believed in the assurance given by the chief minister on conferring more powers to the Lokayukta, he said, "Sometimes, we have to believe assurances. I trust them. If it does not happen, then you know the consequences. I have the option to decide. My doors are open. I can come in and also go out."

A relieved Yeddyurappa, who had come under attack from the Opposition over the Lokayukta issue, said, "Hegde was kind enough to consider everyone's request and agreed to withdraw his resignation.

"We have the highest regard for Hegde and the institution of Lokyukta. I assure that the Karnataka government will extend full cooperation to Hegde on the issues raised by him," Yeddyurappa said.

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