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Sriramulu retains Bellary: A defeat for Justice Hegde?

Last updated on: December 4, 2011 17:59 IST

Sriramulu retains Bellary: A defeat for Justice Hegde?

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Vicky Nanjappa

Does Sriramulu's victory on Sunday in Bellary mean the defeat of Justice Hegde's movement against corruption? The former Karnataka Lokayukta doesn't think so, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

The seat of Bellary in Karnataka has been retained by Sriramulu, one of the closest aides of mining barons-turned-politicians Reddy brothers, who are all part of the illegal mining scam.

Also Read: People of Bellary have given me justice today: Sriramulu

The big question that is being asked is whether the likes of Anna Hazare and former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santhosh Hegde (also a member of civil society group agitating for the Jan Lokpal Bill), who have been raising their voice against corruption, been silenced?

Sriramulu has also been in the news for his role in the illegal mining case. It is Justice Hegde's report on illegal mining which had Sriramulu's name as one of the accused in the case.

Does Sriramulu's victory on Sunday mean the defeat of Justice Hegde's movement against corruption?

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Image: B Sriramulu

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'There is a need to change electoral laws first'

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Justice Hegde does not think so. "He has won, that's alright. Is he the only corrupt one over there? Do you mean to say the others have not spent money?" Justice Hegde says.

"How can you say the movement against corruption has been defeated? Such things happen. It takes a while. The objective should not be defeated. If some have taken money and voted then, they should answer their conscience," he adds.

"Speaking of the Bellary election on Sunday each of the parties have been corrupt. Each one has had a role to play in the illegal mining case and hence there is very little choice," he also says.

"You can make light of the movement against corruption. Although, I agree when you would say that the issue of electoral reforms ought to have been taken up by us firs before the issue of corruption. There is a need to change electoral laws first, if we want to see some impact in the system," Justice Hegde points out.


Image: Justice Santosh Hegde

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'Naming someone in a Lokayukta report is not a criterion to deny a ticket'

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"However, I would want to take this issue up. I would want a performance audit of all MPs and MLAs. Such things should be made public and the voter must have the power to recall his vote. This would keep these leaders on tenterhooks. Let this be put in and the next election would have a better result," he adds.

"The question of fielding tainted candidates is another issue. Once a charge is framed by a court then the candidate should be denied a ticket. When the charge is framed, it would mean that the court has applied its mind.

"However, merely being an accused does not mean he should be denied a ticket. Even naming someone in a Lokayukta report is not a criterion to deny a ticket. A Lokayukta report is not a conviction, it is just first information," Justice Hegde notes.


Image: File picture of mining in Bellary district

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