Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s order for registration of a criminal case against former CPS Ram Kishan Fauji is the first instance of a government proceeding against a prominent politician on the recommendation of the state lokayukta.
Haryana lokayukta justice Pritam Pal, who had recommended the registration of a criminal case against Fauji, is also currently getting similar charges against seven other Congress leaders, including the then minister Rao Narender Singh, looked into by a senior police officer.
In Fauji’s case, justice Pal who, after holding a few hearings, appeared clear and firm, in his order dated January 20 this year, held that the allegations of taking bribe and granting of CLU in lieu thereof had not been established and hence, the government reference was answered accordingly.
He said, “At the same time, the institution of lokayukta cannot close its eyes to the other allegations brought before it, as discussed above in the form of a CD and affidavits of two persons, who are stated to have conducted a sting operation, wherein Fauji made a demand of Rs 5 crore in lieu of helping the deponents for the grant of CLU in respect of a hotel to be constructed near Gurgaon.”
He held, “From the transcript version, after seeing the CD and going through the averments of the above affidavits, which go un-rebutted at this stage, prima facie it appears that Fauji has committed a cognizable offence punishable under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.”
“…It is recommended to the competent authority that a criminal case for commission of offence punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act be immediately registered against Fauji and, thereafter, a senior competent police officer enjoying the reputation of having impeccable integrity, be deputed to investigate the entire case expeditiously on all counts of allegations of corruption as allegedly narrated in the CD during the sting operation,” he held.
Justice Pal, the third lokayukta since the inception of the institution of the ombudsman in 1999, has also repeatedly written to the state government for more powers, especially the one to take suo motu notice of cases, but to no avail.
Justice Pal, who hails from Kandroli village in Kurukshetra district, is known to be a strong votary of moral values and discipline in life. With about 27 years of judicial career, he retired as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana high court before being appointed the lokayukta.