Putting the ball back in the court of Haryana government, the lokayukta has declined to review his recommendation for registration of a criminal case against chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Ram Kishan Fauji in the graft CD case.
The lokayukta, justice Pritam Pal (retd) had on Monday reserved his order on three pleas with common request for review of his recommendation on January 20, 2014 for registering a criminal case against Fauji in the said case.
The chief secretary had sent reference back to lokayukta on January 27, 2014 with a request to review his recommendation in the context, while Fauji, through his counsels, had raised the requests for the re-examination of the same on February 3, 2014 and again on February 6, 2014. Justice Pal, who dismissed the three pleas, held that he found no merit in any of these.
Replying to the chief secretary letter, justice Pal held that he had heard the counsels of the parties; again gone through his January 20, 2014 report as well as the original file of the case - besides going through Haryana Lokayukta Act, 2002, and found no provision in the Act for reconsideration or re-examination of his recommendation.
Interestingly, the CS had held that the government had sent the reference back to lokayukta as it found variance in his report, justice Pal said he did not find any variance and the same was based on law and facts on the subject.
On the Fauji's pleas, justice Pal said that his counsels instead of seeking review of his report, had contended that a registration of a criminal case against Fauji could not have been ordered as per law without hold an inquiry. The counsel for Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) who had released the CD last year, contended that there was no provision in the Act for a review of Lokayukta's report.
Referring to his finding in his report that Fauji was shown to have made a demand for `5 crore in lieu of helping deponents for grant of change of land use permission, he reiterated that it amounted to an act of bribe as per law.
Ombudsman shows spine
Justice Pal has set a precedent by sticking to his recommendation. Third lokayukta since the inception of the institution of this ombudsman in 1999 - justice Pal had repeatedly written to the state government for more powers, especially the one to take suo motu notice of cases, though to no avail.
While it was first time that a lokayukta had recommended a police case against a sitting MLA and CPS, Fauji, he had also maintained the same despite the government asking him to review the same. He has so far decided upon more 1,600 cases (out of total about 2,400 complaints received) during his stint and recommended action against several bureaucrats too.
September 6, 2013: INLD leaders, including Ellenabad MLA Abhay Chautala and state president Ashok Arora, release the CD allegedly showing Fauji seeking `5 crore in lieu of getting the CLU permission for a Gurgaon land.
September 6, 7: The INLD MLAs create ruckus in the Vidhan Sabha, suspended for the remaining days of the assembly.
September 10: The Congress government, while rubbishing the charges, sent a reference to lokayukta under Section 8 (1) of the Haryana Lokayukta Act.
January 13, 2014: Arora, Fauji record their respective statements in the context.
January 17: Lokayukta who held a few hearings in the case reserves his report; two people, namely Dharmender Kuhar and Parveen Malik, also submitt affidavits stating they made the CD and standing by the allegations against Fauji.
Jan 20: Lokayukta recommends criminal case against Fauji.
January 27: Chief Secretary writes to lokayukta to review his report.