Congress leaders Shankarsinh Vaghela and Shaktisinh Gohil welcomed the order of the Apex Court as a victory of the people of Gujarat and democracy. The two leaders alleged that Modi had created hurdles in the appointment of Lokayukta so that the state government could hide corruption in various projects.
“The Honorable Supreme Court has ordered that Justice RA Mehta should take charge of office and has also asked the state government to provide him staff, office, infrastructure and logistic support immediately,” said Gohil.
The former leader of opposition said that the appointment of Justice Mehta was as per law and the Supreme Court had reaffirmed the provisions of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act.
The two opposition parties have asked chief minister Narendra Modi to cooperate with the Lokayukta in the investigation of various allegations of corruption made in the report of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). The parties also accused the state government of wasting people’s money by challenging Justice Mehta’s appointment first in the high court and then in the Supreme Court with ‘mala fide intentions’.
Accusing the state government of deliberately keeping the Lokayukta’s post vacant for eight years, Congress leaders said the party is exploring legal options so that corruption allegations older than five years can also be examined by the state ombudsman.
“The chief minister appointed a one-member commission for inquiry into the allegations as he could not get a Lokayukta of his choice. However, no commission should be appointed without permission of the Lokayukta,” said Gohil. He also said that the verdict of the Apex Court was a slap on the face of the state government.
Gohil also asked why the BJP’s national leaders were silent on the appointment of Lokayukta in Gujarat. He went on to say that Modi should apologise to the Gujarat high court and the Governor.
Gujarat Parivartan Party workers celebrated the Supreme Court verdict with fireworks and sweets. Gordhan Zadaphia, general secretary of GPP, alleged that Modi government had indulged in corruption worth more than Rs1 lakh crore, including sops given to Tata Motors for the Nano Project, Adani Enterprises, Archian Chemicals and other companies.