Kumaraswamy refuses to sack ministers for default


Bangalore : Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has declined to sack two of his ministers for not filing in time a statement of their assets with the state’s anti-corruption body.

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N. Santosh Hegde, chief of Lok Ayukta, the anti-corruption body, had suggested to Kumaraswamy that he should sack Youth Affairs Minister Alkod Hanumanthappa and Agriculture Marketing Minister Sharanabasappa Darshanapur for violating rules regarding submission of details of their assets and liabilities.

The two had submitted the details for 2005 after the due date and sought pardon from Hegde for the delay.

However, Hegde, a retired judge of the apex court, in his recommendation to the chief minister said he had no powers under the Lok Ayukta Act to pardon the defaulting ministers.

Rejecting the recommendation to sack the two ministers, Kumaraswamy told Hegde that sacking “will be too harsh and disproportionate to the offence”. The chief minister added: “Punishment meted out to any person has to be commensurate with the offence committed.

“Legislators, who are elected representatives, are very busy people. Hence, there might have been some delay in filing their statements of assets,” he said.

Reacting to Kumaraswamy’s stand, Hegde said: “The chief minister has the power to reject my directive, provided it is based on legal grounds. I will study the reply and then take further action.”

Hegde initiated the enquiry into the lapse by the two ministers following a complaint against them by a former member of the legislative assembly, S.K. Kantha.