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Karnataka Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao resigns amid bribery scandal

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New Delhi: Facing chances of impeachment in a bribery case, Karnataka Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao resigned from his post on Tuesday. The resignation letter was sent to Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala on Monday and was accepted by the Governor today.

Rao was put under pressure to resign after the allegation were leveled against him.

“Hon’ble Governor of Karnataka is pleased to accept the resignation of Dr. Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao, as Lokayukta of Karnataka State with immediate effect,” Raj Bhavan said in a statement.

A motion was moved by BJP and JDS and affirmed by the presiding Congress government seeking the removal of Rao pending before the Karnataka Assembly with the Speaker Kagodu Thimappa viewing it before denoting the issue to the Karnataka High Court Chief Justice to take the procedure ahead.

Rao has been on a long leave since last July once his son Ashwin Rao was detained by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in association with the case.

Over 85 legislators signed an appeal looking for the impeachment of Justice Bhaskar Rao, who has not appeared in office since the last 100 days. Subsequently, a charge-sheet was filed against his son Ashwin Rao. Incidentally, Justice Rao was made a witness to the case. The case also had involvement of other executives of the Lokayukta, RTI campaigners and journalists.

The scandal was uncovered after Lokayukta Superintendent of Police Sonia Narang wrote a letter to the registrar of Karnataka Lokayukta regarding the complaint she received from a person, who was apparently from the Lokayukta office, and demanded Rs 1 crore in bribe to avoid a raid.

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Algeria Embarking ‘Clean Hands’ Campaign Against Corruption, Questions Tycoons

Corruption is a major complaint of the masses of protesters who helped drive longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office earlier this month

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algeria, clean hands campaign, corruption
FILE - Protestors carry a large flag and chant slogans during a demonstration against the country's leadership, in Algiers, April 12, 2019. VOA

Algerian authorities are embarking on a “Clean Hands” campaign aimed at rooting out corruption that has been linked to top tycoons and current and former government officials. Corruption is a major complaint of the masses of protesters who helped drive longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office earlier this month. New protests are scheduled for Friday.

Several influential Algerians have been questioned or arrested in recent days. Among them is Issad Rebrab, head of Algeria’s biggest private conglomerate Cevital, who is suspected of possible customs-related violations and other financial wrongdoing, according to prosecutors.

Rebrab, 75, is estimated by Forbes to be Algeria’s richest man and employs 18,000 workers in his agribusiness empire. He tweeted that he went in voluntarily for police questioning. He was questioned for six hours before being taken to the El Harrach prison.

clean hands campaign, corruption
Corruption is a major complaint of the masses of protesters who helped drive longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office earlier this month. VOA

Others targeted include a legislator accused of accepting bribes from a Chinese company. Also detained for questioning this week were three wealthy brothers believed close to Bouteflika’s brother Said, and seven Industry Ministry officials suspected of “non respect of contractual commitments with state enterprises” and influence trading.

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The Kouninef brothers’ lawyers said they are respecting the legal procedures but need time to consult the case files before commenting. The brothers made their fortune in the oil, food and advertising businesses.

The highest court in Algeria announced in a statement Wednesday that it is considering a case against ex-energy minister Chakib Khelil for acts related to “violations of foreign exchange laws and transfers of capital to foreigners.” Khelil is a close friend of Bouteflika and a high school classmate. Other former ministers are also targeted. (VOA)