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Published On:30 August 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

ANALYSIS: Exposing the real face of Vibrant Gujarat

The face of so-called Vibarant Gujarat has been constantly exposed.The state is piled up with numerous scams. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi seems to have robbed Gujarat in the most shameful manner. Our senior colleague Abdul Hafiz Lakhani has written many times that Vibarant Gujarat is the hype of Modi frenzy. We are presenting yet another story on so-called Vibrant Gujarat. – Danish Ahmad Khan, Executive Editor, IndianMuslimObserver.com


By Abdul Hafiz Lakahni


Ahmedabad: When the central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party is supporting a strong Jan Lokpal at the Centre to curb corruption, however in its own model state of Gujarat it wants to rule by taking bribes and commissions. Who’s afraid of the allegations of corruption as long as the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 exists?


The stage seems all set for an open confrontation between the Gujarat government and Governor Kamla, with the latter deciding to appoint retired High Court judge R.A. Mehta as the new Lokayukta.


The Narendra Modi-led government has filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court against the appointment of retired judge R A Mehta as Gujarat's Lokayukta (anti-corruption ombudsman) without consultation with the state government. The state government has sought urgent hearing on the manner in which the governor was trying to force the centre's agenda on the state government.


The appointment was announced in the wee hours of Friday by state governor Kamala Beniwal, an appointee of the Congress party, which is in control at the central government but in the opposition in BJP-ruled Gujarat.


"The hearing on the issue was inconclusive and will be resumed on 30 August," state government pleader in the high court Prakash Jani said later.


Under the Lokayukta Act, the governor has special powers to appoint a Lokayukta. Mehta was chosen with the concurrence of the chief justice of the state high court.


The post had been lying vacant for the past seven years since justice S M Soni resigned in 2003, soon after Narendra Modi and his BJP government was re-elected with a thumping majority.


The state government had earlier rejected the name of justice S D Dave; and refused to notify the appointment of Mehta in spite of two reminders from the governor.


There has been considerable controversy over the vacant post following Anna Hazare's movement for a central Lokpal. Mehta is considered a Hazare supporter; he had hosted Hazare at his residence during his last visit to Ahmedabad in May and has been closely associated with the 'India Against Corruption' movement in Gujarat.


The ruling party has blamed opposition leader Shaktisinh Gohil for avoiding discussion on the issue.


On the other hand, the opposition maintains that the government has no role in the appointment of a Lokayukta, as the recommendation has to be made by the chief justice, the governor, and the leader of the opposition.


State pleader Jani said the government's contention was that Beniwal had no power to act on her own and had to consult the council of ministers. The Governor was "required to act only after the chief minister had concurred with the suggestion".


The appointment assumes significance as the Congress has levelled serious allegations of corruptions in 17 instances involving money to the tune of Rs1,00,000 crore, against the Modi government.


The state government appointed its own commission to probe the charges against it. The Congress has alleged that the government appointed the team to escape an independent inquiry by the Lokayukta.


Cabinet spokesman Jaynarayan Vyas claimed that the state government had been trying to appoint a Lokayukta since 2006, but for one reason or another "beyond its control" the appointment could not be completed.


"The process of consultation is not yet over and right in its middle such an order has come," he said.


The governor's order came within a couple of hours of Beniwal's talks with three senior state ministers who came to Raj Bhavan (the official residence of the governor) with a selection criteria that she ridiculed and rejected outright.


The governor then took action under Section 3 of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986, which gives her the right to appoint Lokayukta without consulting the government. She based her decision on legal opinion given by the Attorney General of India, while avoiding talking to the Advocate General of Gujarat.


Impeccable credentials


On the face of it, Mehta (74) has excellent credentials for the Lokayukta post. As a young advocate, he assisted the Justice B K Mehta Commission which probed the Machhu Dam disaster in Morbi district of the state in 1976.


He was appointed judge of the Gujarat high court in 1984 after about 10 years of legal practice. He remained in that position for 14 years; during which he passed some significant pro-poor judgments.


These included abolition of carrying of night soil on the head by low-caste workers and regularisation of street hawkers in Ahmedabad. His judgements after the post-Godhra massacre of Muslims in 2007 were also considered judicially sound.


The then Chief Justice of India, A M Ahmedi, had offered him the position of high court chief justice anywhere in India. However, he chose to stay on in Gujarat to take care of his ailing mother.


He is said to be instrumental in modernising the Gujarat high court with computerisation before his retirement in 1998.


He then served as chairman of Gujarat State Judicial Academy.


Conducting a public hearing into the Surat floods in 2006, he gave a report indicting the then irrigation minister Narottam Patel for a "man-made crisis". This is perhaps one of the reasons why the present government is not in his favour.


In Gujarat the post of Lokayukta which was lying vacant for more than seven years, has been filled by the Governor. In such a situation Chief Minister and Gujarat government should stop coming in the way of appointment of Lokayukta.


Gujarat has debt of more than Rs 1.7 lakh crore. Chief Minister is giving public property to handful people at throw away price fraudulently. However, using all kind of publicity and propaganda Chief Minister is presenting false picture of a successful administrator.


During his visit of Gujarat, Anna Hazare was shocked to see the level of corruption and remarked that Modi has turned Gandhi’s Gujarat into Ghotale kaa Gujarat. When Annaji uttered this truth, one of his confidants Swami Agnivesh was attacked by a person who is a BJP MLA. This shows autocratic personality of Gujarat Chief Minister who cannot tolerate a remark of even people like Anna Hazare.


Chief Justice of Gujarat had suggested the name of former High Court judge R A Mehta for the post of Lokayukta. Anna Hazare had stayed at the place of R A Mehta during his Gujarat visit. This shows that he is honest and upright. Today when the entire country accepts Anna Hazare, why R A Mehta is not acceptable to Gujarat Chief Minister?


Chief Minister has appointed a Commission to inquire charges against him. Through this ploy he is making desperate effort to take his corruption cases outside the purview of Lokayukta. This shows that he is the most corrupt person in the country.


The day when people will raise their voice against highly corrupt Gujarat government, it will have no place to hide. Gujarat Chief Minister should take lesson from history and see the fate of people whether it is Kans or Hitler or Ravan or Musharraf. As an act of repentance, he should stay away from the way of Lokayukta and allow it to probe corruption cases. In Gandhi’s land some Anna will certainly show up.


In Gujarat the post of Lokayukta which was lying vacant for more than seven years, has been filled by the Governor. In such a situation Chief Minister and Gujarat government should stop coming in the way of appointment of Lokayukta.


Gujarat has debt of more than Rs 1.7 lakh crore. Chief Minister is giving public property to handful people at throw away price fraudulently. However, using all kind of publicity and propaganda Chief Minister is presenting false picture of a successful administrator.


During his visit of Gujarat, Anna Hazare was shocked to see the level of corruption and remarked that Modi has turned Gandhi’s Gujarat into Ghotale kaa Gujarat. When Annaji uttered this truth, one of his confidants Swami Agnivesh was attacked by a person who is a BJP MLA. This shows autocratic personality of Gujarat Chief Minister who cannot tolerate a remark of even people like Anna Hazare.


Chief Justice of Gujarat had suggested the name of former High Court judge R A Mehta for the post of Lokayukta. Anna Hazare had stayed at the place of R A Mehta during his Gujarat visit. This shows that he is honest and upright.


Today when the entire country accepts Anna Hazare, why R A Mehta is not acceptable to Gujarat Chief Minister?


Chief Minister has appointed a Commission to inquire charges against him. Through this ploy he is making desperate effort to take his corruption cases outside the purview of Lokayukta. This shows that he is the most corrupt person in the country.


The day when people will raise their voice against highly corrupt Gujarat government, it will have no place to hide. Gujarat Chief Minister should take lesson from history and see the fate of people whether it is Kans or Hitler or Ravan or Musharraf. As an act of repentance, he should stay away from the way of Lokayukta and allow it to probe corruption cases. In Gandhi’s land some Anna will certainly show up.


[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on August 30, 2011. Filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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