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Lokayukta to fast-track cases

india Updated: Jan 23, 2007 12:00 IST

MADHYA PRADESH Lokayukta Justice Ripu Sudan Dayal on Monday hinted at more expeditious decisions on cases pending with the institution in the light of the landmark Supreme Court verdict that government permission is not mandatory in prosecution of public servants who have relinquished the posts they are accused of misusing.

Justice Dayal is the country’s first ombudsman to direct prosecution against a minister and a Lok Sabha member in a corruption case without the State Government’s permission.

“We are trying to do everything promptly, be it decision on the cases, or registration of complaints or investigation”, Justice Dayal told Hindustan Times.   
The Lokayukta had last Thursday directed putting up charge sheet against Minister of State for Water Resources Jugal Kishore Bagri and Lok Sabha member Ganesh Singh in the Special Court, Satna. He took the decision in the light of the December 6, 2006, Supreme Court ruling in the Prakash Singh Badal’s case concerning disproportionate property. Bagri resigned from the Cabinet after the decision.

On more such cases pending with the Lokayukta, Justice Dayal said that prosecution would depend on facts of the cases.
“The Supreme Court decision is there for everyone to see. Facts of the case would determine whether prosecution sanction is required or not’. 

Hailing the Supreme Court decision, Justice Dayal averred that it has definitely given a shot in the arm to Lokayukta which used to be helpless in initiating legal action against high and mighty for want of prosecution sanction.

While the political parties across the spectrum have hailed the Lokayukta decision, Speaker Ishwardas Rohani is skeptical about it. “It is worrying to know that the Lokayukta went ahead with prosecution of the minister and the MP even after Speakers of the Assembly and Lok Sabha had denied permission (for prosecution)”, Rohani said.

On the Speaker’s doubt about his propriety in initiating the prosecution, Justice Dayal clarified he did not want to be dragged into any controversy on the issue.    The Lokayukta had filed a case of corruption against Bagri and Ganesh Singh along with 11 others on September 27, 1998. Bagri was a BJP MLA then.

The accused were charged with misuse of power and corruption in appointment of Shikshakarmis (teachers). However, the then State Assembly Speaker Sriniwas Tiwari denied permission to prosecute Bagri in 2000 on the plea he might have committed irregularities in the appointment of Shikshakarmis but didn’t take any pecuniary benefit out of the action. Tiwari had cited a MP High Court verdict to substantiate his decision.