A Lokayukta special court today granted interim bail to former anti-graft ombudsman Y Bhaskar Rao, who has been named in a charge sheet in a corruption case in connection with an alleged extortion racket involving his son Y Ashwin. Justice D T Devendran granted bail to Rao after considering the interim bail plea filed by him in the morning. The application sought interim bail so that Rao could perform rituals in memory of his mother on November 30. Posting the case for next hearing on November 30, the court asked the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to file objections to the bail plea. On August five, Rao was named in the charge sheet in the case, which was the first such action against a former Lokayukta in the country. Rao, named as the seventh accused, was charged with abetting illegal gratification to influence a public servant, concealing evidence and being part of a criminal conspiracy to cover up and protect the offenders. Ashwin is the prime accused in the alleged extortion racket that was being run in the Lokayukta office, with subsequent public and Opposition outcry causing the exit of Rao as the head of the anti-graft institution. Governor Vajubhai Vala had given the nod to the SIT to prosecute Rao in the case, which is one of the five pertaining to the alleged extortion scandal. SIT is expected to seek governor's permission for his prosecution in the remaining cases too. The alleged scam came to light after the then Lokayukta, superintendent of police, Sonia Narang wrote to Lokayukta Registrar about the complaint she received from an executive engineer, who alleged that someone from the Lokayukta office demanded Rs 1 crore in bribe to avoid a raid. Resisting all attempts for his exit, Rao had resigned in December 2015 only after a motion to remove him was moved in the State legislature. Ashwin was arrested by SIT in Hyderabad in July last year based on an FIR filed against him by Lokayukta police.
After Rao's resignation, the post of Lokayukta has remained vacant as the governor had rejected the name of SR Nayak proposed by the state government. The government is yet to finalise another candidate.
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