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Yeddyurappa's arrest shows judiciary is taking things seriously: Santosh Hegde

Dressed in track pants and a half-sleeved shirt at his residence, a relaxed but busy former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde shared with MiDDAY how former CM B S Yeddyurappa's arrest is a lesson for corrupt politicians, why his wife is not happy and what his daily routine is like after retirement, and much more.

Would Yeddyurappa's arrest be a lesson for corrupt politicians?
The mining report is an important event in my career as Lokayukta. For a year, five officers worked with me day and night on the report without taking a single day of leave. We had to go through four lakh documents for compiling the report. Yeddyurappa's arrest shows that the judiciary is taking things seriously. Everyone is equal in the eyes of law and nobody should think that he could get away because he is rich and powerful.

How has life changed after  retirement? Are you spending more time with your wife now?
I wake up at 7 am everyday and then the schedule depends on my location. I would like to spend more time with her. She is not happy with my retirement and she complains that I hardly stay at home now. Mostly I am travelling across the country to speak at various public events. I never refuse an invitation, as this is the best way to express oneself.

Do you miss being the Lokayukta?
I don't miss it, I think I have done justice to the job I was assigned to. When you are appointed to a post, you know that the term will come to an end sometime. So you need to prepare yourself mentally for retirement and learn to live without the facilities that you enjoy as a government employee. As there are no cars with beckon lights atop and no security guards around, I think I am better off now. Even as a Supreme Court judge, I always used my private car for personal work. I always practiced austerity and wanted to build an environ in which I can stay happily after retirement.

Is there any particular hobby that you have started pursuing once again post retirement?
(Smiles) I don't have any particular hobby. I used to be a reader once upon a time. Since the age of 26, I have been reading a lot, thanks to my profession. Now that power of concentration is not there anymore. I love old Hindi songs and ghazals. They are real stress busters.

Are you consciously keeping away from the Anna team?
I support the team's agenda of fighting against corruption and the Jan Lokpal bill. Team Anna is apolitical, so I did not appreciate their involvement in Hisar elections. I am not an admirer of any particular political party, but it was just not fair. Anyway, I am always there for Anna Team.

The government portrays as if there is a lack of suitable candidates for the post of Lokayukta. Do you agree?
I don't think so. People should not lose hope. This is just a passing phase. There are lots of good people who are suitable for the post. All who resigned also have been good but they had personal constraints.

Do we need reformations in regard to the method of appointing Lokayukta? Should the process be made independent of CM's discretion?
No, I don't think so. I agree that transparency in appointment is important, but we have a system in place. We cannot just overrule that. Everywhere there is deficiency and we need reformation. We have to ensure that system should be followed properly. Why do we always think of changes and not implementation?

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