With the Supreme Court upholding the appointment of retired Justice RA Mehta as Gujarat Lokayukta, chief minister Narendra Modi is in for new legal battles over alleged corruption during his 10 years in power.
For the last five years, civil rights organizations, activists and opposition parties were demanding appointment of a Lokayukta, a post which had been lying vacant for the last nine years. Now, the activists are all set to grill the government before the state ombudsman for alleged corruption under the 10 years of Modi’s rule.
Civil rights activist and convener of Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) Dr Mukul Sinha said that they welcomed the judgement. “Now the fight against the government is for eradication of corruption. Justice Mehta is a fine and capable judge. The state government was stonewalling his appointment,” the lawyer-activist said.
Sinha is the lawyer in the case against minister of state for fisheries, Purushottam Solanki, who is accused of a Rs400 crore scam in allotting contracts for fishing at state reservoirs. Sinha said he won the case for the minister’s prosecution for corruption as the Governor had granted approval for Solanki’s prosecution.
“We will now grill former fisheries minister Dilip Sanghani who had issued official statements saying he was responsible for granting the fishing contracts,” Sinha said.
“We will fight against the government for misuse of around Rs4000 crore funds meant for maintenance of minor and sub-canals of the Narmada irrigation project, irregularities in Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) and cornering of land by BJP leaders at Dholera SIR project in Bhavnagar district,” he added.
Gautam Thakar, an activist of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), is all set to renew the fight against the government over corruption.
“We welcome the judgment as it upholds the virtues of democracy. We will continue the fight against corruption,” said Thakar, who is general secretary of the PUCL.
Incidentally, PUCL is the only organization which appeared against the state government before the Justice MB Shah commission. The Shah panel is inquiring into alleged corruption in allotment of land by the government at throwaway prices to industrial houses in the state.
Meanwhile, sources close to the development said that some activists and political parties are gearing up to grill the Modi government over constitution of the MB Shah commission itself. The commission has already given a clean chit to Modi government in its first report.
The activists are exploring the possibility of starting a legal battle over the validity of the Shah commission and also of bringing before the Lokayukta those cases which are currently under the purview of the Shah commission.