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November 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.  Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       November 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.   Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       
Issue:Sep' 2017


It's all Chouhan show !

N D Sharma

Naresh Kumar Gupta There was a late night announcement about the appointment of former Madhya Pradesh High Court judge Naresh Kumar Gupta as the Lokayukta of the State. Next day, Gujarat Governor O P Kohli, who holds additional charge of Madhya Pradesh, flew in from Gandhinagar, administered the oath of office and secrecy to Justice Gupta and flew back to Gujarat.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan The entire process of appointment of Justice Gupta as the Lokayukta was kept a closely guarded secret; only Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his close aides knew about it. The only outsider to know about this hushhush affair was Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh (Rahul Bhaiya) whose integrity is now being questioned by his own party men.

Ajay Singh Ajay Singh is under attack for not being a party to only a hush-hush affair but also for collaborating in what is considered a totally illegal procedure of appointment.The Act clearly lays down that the appointment of Lokayukta will be made by the Governor in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court and the Leader of Opposition. The Rules prescribe that the selection will be made out of a panel of three names. Quite erroneously, the task of selecting the person for appointment as Lokayukta has been taken over by the Chief Minister. In the present case, there was not even a panel.
Chouhan, who has emerged as the master manipulator, got the name of Justice Gupta approved by the Chief Justice of the High Court and got the signature of Ajay Singh through an emissary. Then an emissary flew to Gandhinagar to get the Governor's signature and the announcement was made.

U C Maheshwari What is more, Justice Gupta as a High Court judge was junior by six years to Justice U C Maheshwari, who is Deputy Lokayukta and had been serving as the acting Lokayukta. Justice Maheshwari was appointed High Court judge in 2004 and Justice Gupta in 2010. Not surprisingly, Justice Maheshwari did not attend Justice Gupta's swearing-in; the day Justice Gupta's announcement was made, Justice Maheshwari pushed off to Mhow to celebrate Diwali with his family.

Prakash Prabhakar Naolekar Justice Prakash Prabhakar Naolekar demitted the office of Lokayukta on June 28, 2016 after remaining in office for seven years – six years of the regular term and one year extension given illegally by the Chouhan government.Section 5(1) of the MP Lokayukta Act 1981 clearly states: 'every person appointed as Lokayukta or Up-Lokayukta shall hold office for a term of six years from the date on which he enters upon office and shall not be eligible for reappointment thereafter' (Emphasis added). For Chouhan, however, the law is irrelevant when he has pliable opposition and a Governor whose first and last loyalty is to the party. Justice Maheshwari had since been acting as the Lokayukta.

Jamuna Devi Justice Naolekar's appointment was also made by Chouhan in a dubious manner. Then Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi was seriously ill and in intensive care unit of an Indore hospital. Chief Minister Chouhan's emissary was said to have approached her with the name of Justice Naolekar and managed to get her signature even though she was not in her proper senses. Soon after that, she died. Justice Naolekar worked hard to get Chouhan out of several scams. Less

Vivek Tankha said about the morality of Justice Naolekar the better. Once he resorted to blatant falsehood to defend his son whom chouhan had shown dubious favours. The Chouhan government, on its part, replied to an RTI inquiry that the government did not know who Sandeep Naolekar's father is.
The role of the High Court Chief justice is also being questioned in becoming party to Chouhan's manipulations. Senior lawyer and Congress Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha tweeted: 'wondering how MP CJ and Leader of Opposition could accept such gross transgression'.

K K Mishra PCC chief spokesperson K K Mishra said Deputy Lokayukta Justice Maheshwari had initiated a corruption inquiry against an influential IAS officer and the intention behind bringing a junior person over his senior might be to derail the investigation.
RTI activist Ajay Dubey said: 'the government has appointed a Lokayukta without transparent and fair proceedings. It is highly unethical that a senior judge is now being forced to report to a junior'.
Before his appointment as a High Court judge, Justice Gupta had served as legal advisor to the State government when Chouhan was mired in one controversy after another related to scams. Justice Gupta was said to have won Chouhan's confidence during that period.

Ajay Dubey Under fire from all sides for his questionable role, Ajay Singh said in a statement that the High Court Chief Justice wrote to the Chief Minister suggesting the name of Justice Gupta and the Chief Minister sent it to him and he agreed. 'I do not have the gradation list of judges (and) it is up to the Chief Justice and the Chief Minister to look into it' he added.
Defence by Ajay Singh of his role in Chouhan's manipulation is facile on the face of it.

Bala Bachchan His position was made more absurd when Congress MLA Bala Bachan jumped into the fray. Deputy Leader of Opposition Bala Bachan was acting Leader of Opposition for some months after the death of Satyadev Katare and before Ajay Singh was nominated to the post.
He said that the government had been trying to get Justice Gupta appointed as Lokayukta for nearly a year.
When he was the (acting) Leader of Opposition, Chouhan's officer went to him six times --- thrice at his residence in Indore --- with Justice Gupta's name but every time he returned the file saying that he would not consent to a single name; there should be a panel of three names as per the rules. When he asked for the file for noting down his objection, the officers refused to give him the file, Bachan added.

Faizanuddin Former Supreme Court judge Faizanuddin, who has also served as Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta, said that Ajay Singh had failed in his duty by agreeing to a single name and did not deserve to occupy the post of Leader of Opposition. Former Law Secretary of the State P P Tiwari said that the institution of Lokayukta had lost its sanctity with the appointment of Lokayukta being made in this blatantly illegal manner.