Ahmedabad, Aug 17: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today appointed an inquiry commission, to be headed by retired Supreme Court Justice M B Shah, to probe allegations of corruption levelled by Congress against his own government.
Congress had submitted a memorandum to the President Pratibha Patil two months ago, alleging corruption and favouritism on the part of Modi government in its dealings with the industrial houses.
Congress has also started a campaign over non-appointment of Lokayukta in Gujarat for the last seven years.
“This has been necessary to bring the ‘truth' out to the people over the allegations made by Congress. State government is committed to have a transparent inquiry into whatever allegations that have been made,” state government spokesperson and health minister, Jaynarayan Vyas said.
The decision to form an inquiry commission, to be headed by Justice Shah, was taken at the cabinet meeting headed by the Chief Minister.
However, the Congress reacted sharply to the development.
“Gujarat has institution of Lokayukta, but Modi does not appoint Lokayukta. Instead, he has appointed a commission to inquire into charges of corruption against himself, which has no powers like Lokayukta,” Leader of Opposition in the assembly, Shaktisinh Gohil, said.
“By appointing this commission Modi has proved that he fears Lokayukta,” Gohil said.
“Modi and his ministers are involved in corruption, and that is the precise reason for Modi's not appointing Lokayukta for the last seven and half years,” he alleged.
“As per the provisions of Lokayukta Act, Chief Justice of Gujarat has suggested the name of Justice R A Mehta, but Modi is stalling the appointment,” Gohil further said.
But on appointment of Lokayukta, government spokesperson Vyas said state government had been seeking Congress's cooperation for the last six years, as under the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, government has to discuss the appointment with the Opposition Leader.
“But the Congress has always exhibited a negative approach and has not been forthcoming... it wanted a man of its choice,” he added.
As to the Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya suggesting the name of Justice R A Mehta for Lokayukta's post, Vyas said, “The matter is under consideration of the state government”.
The commission has been told to submit its report by March 2012, Vyas said.
Its terms of reference include allegations by Congress about favouritism toward certain industrial houses, state government's negligence in this regard if any, and any other allegation that the inquiry commission deems fit to inquire into. PTI