Narendra Modi government on Wednesday passed a recommendation to Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal to appoint former high court judge DP Buch as Lokayukta of the state.
The post of Lokayukta has been lying vacant since justice RM Soni's term expired in 2003.
"The state cabinet meeting headed by chief minister Modi recommended to Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal to publish a warrant for appointing of retired justice of Gujarat high court, DP Buch as Lokayukta of the state," officials said.
According to officials, "the name of Justice Buch was recommended by the chief justice of Gujarat High Court Bhaskar Bhattacharya".
The appointment came at a time when the BJP's prime ministerial candidate has been facing flak from Congress over the position of the anti-corruption watchdog lying vacant in Gujarat, even as Modi has been raising the issue of "graft" under the guard of Congress-led UPA government, in his election rallies.
The issue of appointment of Lokayukta had triggered a major controversy after the governor had appointed justice (retd) RA Mehta as Lokayukta on August 25, 2011.
This had led to a long-drawn legal battle, with the Modi government alleging that Mehta's appointment was done with bypassing the state government. However, the supreme court had upheld the governor's decision.
Another twist came when justice Mehta declined to take charge of the office in August this year stating that "the mind-set and attitude of the state government were counter-significant".