Setting the ball rolling for removal of controversial Karnataka Lokayuta Y Bhaskar Rao, Opposition parties on Tuesday petitioned the Assembly Speaker initiating the process for his exit over an alleged extortion racket in the anti-graft ombudsman's office involving his son.
A petition seeking removal of Rao as Lokayukta with 46 members of BJP and 37 of JD(S) signing it was separately submitted to Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa, as the winter session of the state legislature is underway.
Rao, who has been sticking to his guns despite calls for his resignation, is on a long leave since July after his son Ashwin Rao was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with the case.
Speaking to reporters after receiving the petition, Thimmappa said, "As per the amended Act, at least 72 members have to sign, so there is adequate numbers now. I will call for a meeting of all parties and discuss how to go forward and will then take the action. We will come to a decision in two or three days.
Terming it a "legally complicated matter", Thimmappa said, "I want to have a unanimous opinion on this." Thimmappa said after verifying the petition, he and Chairman of the Legislative Council will have to write to the High Court Chief Justice to constitute an inquiry committee the three members, consisting two members appointed by Chief Justice and one member appointed by us will inquire and come out with a finding which will be placed before the Legislature and final decision will be taken." " this matter will go before the committee that will have retired High Court Judge, we will have to look at things responsibly and move forward in this matter," he added.
Under attack from the Opposition for allegedly soft-pedalling serious charges of corruption in the office of the Lokayukta, the state government had in July tabled the Karnataka Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2015 pertaining to removal of anti-corruption ombudsman, which was passed. 
The passage of the bill has made the process of removal of the Lokayukta simpler. Karnataka Lokayukta Joint Commissioner (PRO) Syed Riaz and a few others were also arrested in connection with the scandal.  The scandal came to light after Lokayukta Superintendent of Police Sonia Narang wrote a letter to the Registrar of Karnataka Lokayukta, about the complaint she received from a person who alleged that someone from the Lokayukta office demanded Rs 1 crore in bribe to avoid a raid.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the Speaker, Leader of Opposition BJP in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar said, "we expect this process for the removal of Lokayukta is completed soon." "Lokayukta institution which is to protect people is on the verge of loosing its significance today, because of Bhaskar Rao...; his removal is of prime importance to protect this institution...." he added. Expressing a similar opinion, JD(S) leader Y S V Datta said that at the Business Advisory Committee meeting yesterday all the parties including the ruling party leaders have expressed feeling that Lokayukta Bhaskar Rao has to go. " initiating this process we will be able to send a clear message to people that legislature is in no way trying to protect Lokayukta," he added.
According to the Act, the notice of motion for removal of Lokayukta may be given in writing to the Speaker or Chairman of the state Council duly signed by not less than one-third of the total membership of both the Houses. On admission of the motion, they shall refer the matter to the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court for investigation on the grounds over which the removal is prayed for.
If the misbehaviour or incapacity of Lokayukta shall be deemed to have been proved by the inquiry, it is then taken up for consideration by the House where the motion for removal is pending. Once the motion is adopted, an address praying for removal is presented to the Governor duly signed by the Speaker and the Chairman. Once the Governor gives assent to the address, the Lokayukta shall be deemed to have been removed from office in accordance with the law.
The investigation for proof of misbehaviour or incapacity of Lokayukta has to be done as provided in the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, by a three-member committee, comprising two judges and a jurist. The entire process is expected to take some months before it sees the exit of Lokayukta.

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