Oppn parties, activists hail verdict

Welcoming the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the appointment of Justice (retd) R A Mehta as Gujarat Lokayukta by Governor Kamla Beniwal, leaders from the state Congress and the Gujarat Parivartan Party as also NGO representatives said the verdict is "a slap in the face of the BJP government".

Addressing mediapersons, senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela said Modi was sure to meet the fate of former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa after the appointment of the Lokayukta.

Former Congress Legislature Party leader Shaktisinh Gohil, who was also present at the Congress's press briefing, said Modi had delayed the appointment of Lokayukta for the last nine years to ensure that cases of corruption against his government were not probed by an independent authority.

"If Modi claims that he is clean, why did he stall the Lokayukta's appointment," he said, adding that the Modi government also put obstructions by challenging the verdict of the Gujarat High Court that had approved the appointment of Justice (retd) Mehta as Lokayukta in 2011. "The SC verdict is a slap on the face of the state government," Gohil said.

He said the institution of Lokayukta would provide a platform to people to lodge corruption complaints against the government.

Terming the verdict as "historic", GPP general secretary Gordhan Zadaphia said, "If the Narendra Modi government is really clean, then it should get all the 17 cases of corruption against it probed by the Lokayukta."

"If all the corruption cases against the state government are referred to the Loayukta, 2014 will be far away for Modi," he added.

Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) president and senior lawyer Mukul Sinha said the JSM would now take immediate steps in the fishing lease scam to get former minister Dilip Sanghani prosecuted for Rs 400 crore fishing scam involving former fisheries minister Parshottam Solanki.

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