Hegde dismisses Congress criticism as ’street dogs barking’ (Lead)

July 20th, 2011 - 11:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, July 20 (IANS) Karnataka Lokayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde Wednesday dismissed as “barking of street dogs”, the attack on him by Congress leader B.K. Hariprasad, while sticking to his charge that a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader tried to influence him over his report on illegal mining.

“If street dogs bark, it is the job of the BBMP (Bangalore civic authority to control them),” the Lokayukta said when asked for his reaction to Congress general secretary Hariprasad’s reported claim that he knows how Hegde became a Supreme Court judge.

“Does he mean I bought it? Does he mean the procedure to become a Supreme Court judge? Everybody knows it,” Hegde said sarcastically.

“Who has not criticized me? (Congress leaders) Veerappa Moily, Digvijay Singh, Janardhana Poojary have done it. Let them believe what they say,” he said.

Congress leaders have been stridently attacking Hegde ever since he became a civil society member of the joint Lokpal bill drafting panel.

He has also been attacked by the BJP whose president Nitin Gadkari had once said that Hegde was behaving like an opposition leader.

Hegde has been critical of the way the BJP’s first government in Karnataka for not taking steps to curb rampant illegal iron ore mining in the state.

Hariprasad had recently said that Hegde must quit immediately after the Lokayukta had revealed that senior state BJP leader V. Dhananjaya Kumar had tried to influence him to spare Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa in his report on illegal mining.

Though Dhananjaya Kumar has denied and said he was ready for any probe into the matter, Hegde Wednesday asserted: “I stand by what I have stated.”

The Lokayukta’s assertion came even as opposition parties intensified attack on Yeddyurappa and BJP for the alleged attempt to influence the illegal mining report.

Hegde said he has not yet fixed a date to submit the report but will do so before his five-year term ends Aug 2.

The Congress Wednesday held a rally in Bangalore against Dhananjaya Kumar’s reported attempt while Janata Dal-Secular has sought Governor H. R. Bhardwaj’s intervention in the matter.

The JD-S had Tuesday staged a rally here and submitted a memorandum to the governor urging him to dismiss the Yeddyurappa ministry for its attempt to influence the Lokayukta.

Both the parties have threatened to launch state-wide agitation if the Yeddyurappa government does not act swiftly on the recommendation of the report to be submitted by Lokayukta.

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