The fate of the Lokayukta in Gujarat continues to be uncertain as Justice (retd) RA Mehta has not yet assumed office. According to sources, Mehta is ready to hold charge if the government provides him with ample staff, facilities and budget.
The Supreme Court, in December last year, gave the green signal to the name of Mehta as the Lokayukta, a post lying vacant for nine years in the state. However, Mehta has neither taken charge, nor divulged any reason for the delay. Sources linked to the development and close to Mehta claim that the former judge has sought proper facilities from the state government. “Mehta wants to perform his duty very properly and he needs necessary infrastructure and staff for that,” said an aide of Mehta.
“He extended his demand for administrative staff and police force for the investigation of the corruption matters. In addition, he also sought infrastructure and ample budget to work properly,” said the aide, who met him last week.
“He (Mehta) probably has taken inspiration from Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka where the Lokayuktas have been provided police staff and proper facilities to perform their duty. He put his demand when the government representatives, including advocate general of Gujarat, went to meet him to invite him to join the office,” the source claimed.
When DNA contacted Dhananjay Dwivedi, additional secretary, general administration department (service), he categorically refused to acknowledge the question. “I am doing some confidential work, I can’t talk to you,” the officer retorted. Mehta has maintained suspense about taking charge. He had not assumed office when the Gujarat high court had decided in favour of his appointment last year, despite absence of any stay order over the high court.
It was speculated then that he might not want to take a chance until the matter was pending before the Supreme Court. However, he has not assumed charge even after the apex court accepted him as the Lokayukta and asked the state government to appoint him immediately.