Friday, June 29, 2012

Only Lokayukta can hear corruption charges

In a major development, an  NGO challenged juridiction  of Justice MB Shah commission and demanded immediate winding up of proceedings, which it claims can be  heard only by the Lokayukta  of the state.
The MB Shah commission  has been formed by the state  government to inquire in to  the 15 charges of alleged corruption of millions of rupees  by the state government by  favouring industrial houses.  the commission started hearing the case of allocating  land to the adani group at  throw away prices in Kutch.
During the hearing on thursday, Peoples Union for  Civil Liberties (PUCL) submitted a memorandum to the  commission that, such charges  of corruption by the government cannot be probed by the  one-man commission, headed  by the Supreme court’s retired  judge, MB Shah.
“We have moved a representation before the commission that 15 charges of  alleged corruption can only  be probed by the Lokayukta.  it does not fall under the jurisdiction of the commission  formed by the state government in august last year,”  said Gautam thakar, a member of the PUCL. “We have  also demanded the commission to stop all proceedings  immediately and not to show  undue haste in concluding  the proceedings,”  thakar  added.
Another member of PUCL and a social activist, Prakash  Shah submitted a representation to the commission through his lawyer ami yagnik. the commission sought  reply from the state government and posted further hearing on the matter till July 1.
Meanwhile, special government counsel, Bhaskar  tanna said, “We have sought  time from the commission to  file reply to the representation filed by the NGO and we  will file a proper reply.” it is  pertinent to note that, constitutional deadlock had been  created when the state governor Dr Kamla had appointed justice (retired) Ra Mehta  nas the Lokayukta without  consulting the council of  ministers. Government challenged the action before the  Gujarat high court which  ruled in favour of the governor. the matter is now pending before the Supreme Court  as the government has filed  an appeal. the state government has not appointed Lokayukta in the state for the  last eight years after justice  (retired) SM Soni was relieved from charge.