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K'taka Lokayukta son held in extortion case.

The government has ordered an investigation, which will be free and fair.

We will not be influencing anyone.

The law will take its own course.

'-- KJ Geo ' rge Home Minister , Karnataka

WITH the arrest of his son in the multi-crore extortion racket, pressure builds on Karnataka Lokayukta justice Y Bhaskar Rao to quit.

In a major breakthrough, the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing the racket in the anti-corruption body, on Monday arrested Bhaskar Rao's son Ashwin from his hideout in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

Ashwin is named as accused no. 1 in the extortion racket, which involves Lokayukta officials, RTI activists and journalists.

Ashwin was on the move ever since the Karnataka High Court refused his plea to stay a probe into the racket. Ashwin was spotted in Karnataka's Madikeri last week, later in Hyderabad and he was finally traced to Aurangabad, according to the police.

On Sunday, the SIT officials were in Hyderabad, and based on reliable information, they took Ashwin into custody in Aurangabad early Monday. "We have detained him for questioning in connection SIT arrests Justice Rao's son from Aurangabad

from the SIT without revealing whether he will be brought to Bengaluru for custody.

"If justice Rao has any shame or moral obligation towards society, he should step down immediately.

How can justice Rao continue to remain as the Lokayukta when his son has been arrested for running an extortion racket? This is disgusting to see that the Lokayukta continues to function as if everything is normal," said SR Hiremath, founder, Samaja Parivarthane Samudaya, an NGO that was instrumental in bringing to the fore the misdeeds of various ministers.

Former PM HD Deve Gowda too was vocal on his demand for Rao's resignation. "Circumstances demand that he step down to uphold the honour and dignity of the organisation," he added.

However, it is said justice Rao is in no mood to quit as the investigation into his son's involvement has just begun. According to sources close to him, Rao will not quit until his son is found guilty.

Ashwin's arrest assumes significance because he had not turned up in front of the SIT officials despite a notice being issued to him. On Monday afternoon, his advocates approached the court seeking an anticipatory bail.

On Sunday, the SIT arrested Lokayukta PRO Syed Riyaz, another key player in the racket.

So far, six people have been arrested in the racket.

It is alleged that Riyaz, Ashwin, RTI activists and journalists colluded to operate the extortion racket from the office of the Lokayukta. They would call corrupt officials on the verge of retirement and extort money from them. In return, they would promise the corrupt officials that the Lokayukta would spare them from raids and traps.

On Monday, Riyaz was presented before the Special Court but it refused to grant him any relief and remanded him to the police custody for 10 days.

According sources, the SIT has to produce Ashwin before the Special Court at least by Tuesday.

"They cannot detain any individual for questioning for more than 24 hours..." the sources added.

Meanwhile, the SIT is set to arrest two more journalists and a RTI activist, who are absconding.

Ashwin named accused no. 1 by the police

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jul 28, 2015
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