Ahmedabad, Aug 8: The Gujarat government on Wednesday refuted Lokayukta Justice R A Mehta's allegations that the state's long and expensive legal battle against his appointment was one of the reasons he declined to assume office.
"The state government had made all efforts to appoint Justice Mehta as Lokayukta after the Supreme Court dismissed the curative petition filed by the state government. But, Justice Mehta had already made up his mind that he did not want to assume office," a press statement issued by the state information department said.
Mehta declined to assume the charge on Wednesday blasting Modi government for calling him "biased" and "anti-government" while opposing his appointment.
"The state government had made all the arrangements for his oath taking ceremony. The office of Lokayukta was being renovated for him," the statement said.
A retired Gujarat High Court judge, Mehta declined to assume office, citing state government's long and expensive legal battle against his appointment as one of the reasons.
In his letter to Governor Kamla Beniwal and Chief Justice of the High Court, he cited several reasons which he said "confirmed his belief that he could not persuade himself to accept the office of Lokayukta".
The state government statement further said that it did not befit the stature of the person of a retired high court judge to leak the letter to media.
"It does not look good of a person of Justice Mehta's stature to leak his letter to media," the statement said.
"The state government wanted to appoint Lokayukta and was working towards appointing the corruption watchdog," the statement said, adding that it had even suggested the name of former chief justice of Bombay High Court Justice K R Vyas to then Governor in 2006 for the post of Lokayukta.
The statement further said that after some months, the governor returned the proposal to state citing some reasons, adding that the state complied with the required specifications, but the governor again returned the proposal.
Justice Mehta, according to the statement, was apprised of the way Lokayukta functioned in the state after the apex court upheld Gujarat High Court's order.
"The style, functioning and administrative working of the office of Lokayukta was explained to Justice Mehta in a meeting at his residence on January 6, 2013 after the Supreme Court had upheld Gujarat High Court's order of the appointment of Lokayukta," the statement said.
"Justice Mehta was apprised that in the present budget, provisions have been made for increasing the budget of the office of Lokayukta. The budget for the office of Lokayukta was raised to Rs 63.40 lakh this year from Rs 33.40 lakh in 2009-10," the statement said.
"Further, facilities related to the office of Lokayukta were being arranged," the statement said.