'The Law Minister has apologised in writing'
"I am in the news even when I keep quiet," says Justice N Santosh Hegde, the controversial Karnataka Lokayukta on a lighter note while commenting on Law Minister Veerappa Moily's recent remarks that the Lokayukta's actions against the corrupt were superficial and that he could do more.
While Moily was quick to retract from his stance, stating that he had been misquoted by the media, Justice Hegde is not amused.
In an interview with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, the Karnataka Lokayukta makes it clear that he would not make life miserable for the Bharatiya Janata Party just because the Congress wants him to do it.
You are back in the news once again...
(Laughs) Yes I am. Do you think it is a good thing (laughs again)?
The Law Minister has said that he was quoted out of context and what was printed was wrong. What do you have to say about this?
The Union Law Minister has apologised in writing. He has also stated the same in the press. So I guess the matter is closed now and I do not think dignity permits me to take the matter forward any more.
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Image: Justice N Santosh Hegde
'I do not need a certificate from Moily'
He had said that the actions by you are superficial and you are not doing enough. What are your thoughts on this?
I don't think he needs to tell me what I am doing. If he has information then he is free to give it to me. I will act upon it. He is wrong when he makes such statements and I am not the one who has been just issuing statements.
Considering that such a statement is coming from a law minister of the country, how does that make you feel?
I do not need a certificate from him. Let the people of the state give me a certificate. I will be content with that.
Does it put more pressure that such statements are coming from a law minister of the country?
Why should it as long as I am doing my job? It is a democracy and everyone talks and so he is free to talk too. However, when a person in authority talks loosely it is unbecoming of a person holding such a high position. Let him talk statistics and give me information. I will not hesitate to act upon it.
Image: Law Minister Veerappa Moily
'I won't go after BJP because Cong wants me to'
Do you think Moily has an understanding of the office of the Lokayukta?
(Laughs) He thinks the Lokayukta is all permissive. As a law minister he should know what my powers are and up to what extent I can act. Being in such a position he would do well to give the Lokayukta more powers and enhance the institution instead of making such lose statements. It looks like he has forgotten what my powers are.
Were you representing him in the JMM bribery scam?
Yes I was. Moily has forgotten that I had represented him in that Rs 3.5 crore scam. He should also remember that I had not charged him a single penny when I represented him in that case.
Going by Moily's statements, it appears that he was trying to say that you had not acted upon the scams in which Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa was involved.
He should not talk without knowing the facts. For them it may be politics, but for me it is not. I will act when there is proof and I am not going to make life miserable for the chief minister only because the Congress wants me to.
That is not my job. I will act without hesitation when there is a strong case on hand. I will not step aside from doing that.