Gujarat gets Lokayukta after a decade

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 15:58

Gandhinagar: Retired Gujarat High Court Judge DP Buch was on Wednesday sworn-in as the state`s fourth Lokayukta by Governor Kamla Beniwal on the post that had been lying vacant for a decade.

Justice Buch was sworn-in as the anti-corruption ombudsman at a function in Raj Bhavan in presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Assembly Speaker Vaju Vala.

The post had been lying vacant since the last incumbent Justice RM Soni`s term expired in December 2003.

The Narendra Modi government, which had been at loggerheads with the Governor since 2011 over the appointment of Lokayukta, on November 27 recommended Justice Buch`s name for the post.

The appointment came at a time when Modi was facing flak from Congress over the post lying vacant for 10 years.

The Opposition party had said that the BJP`s prime ministerial candidate had been repeatedly raising the issue of corruption under the Congress-led UPA government, but failed to appoint Lokayukta in his own state.

The issue had triggered a major controversy when the Governor appointed Justice (retd) RA Mehta as Lokayukta on August 25, 2011, without consulting the state government.

This led to a long-drawn legal battle that reached the Supreme Court, which subsequently upheld the Governor`s decision.

Another twist came when Justice Mehta declined to take charge of the office in August this year, citing the long legal battle over his appointment and "the government not accepting his objectivity and credibility".

PTI


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