Thursday, August 18, 2011
A historic step by Gujarat Government to bring about transparency in public life!
Inquiry commission to probe 17 Congress charges against state government
Retired SC judge Mr M B Shah to head the probe
A step taken with noble intentions to enable people know good and clean intentions of the government and the truth about damaging allegations cast on a democratically elected government
Commission to go into special relaxations given by earlier state governments post-1980
The Government of Gujarat today announced setting up of an inquiry commission under a retired Supreme Court judge Mr M B Shah to enquire into 17-point charges that the state Congress party submitted to the President of India a few months back. The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting headed by the Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
When it came to the notice of the Government of Gujarat as also published in newspapers that the Congress leaders gave a representations to the President of India on June 3, 2010 regarding 17 allegations against the functioning of the so-called malpractices of the Government of Gujarat, the latter suo moto took this historic step with good intentions and set up this Commission of Inquiry.
The state government formed the MB Shah Commission under the Commission of Inquiry Act-1952, said government spokespersons Mr. Jay Narayan Vyas and Mr. Saurabh Patel.
Government of Gujarat is of the opinion that it is necessary in the public interest that the people of Gujarat must know whether there is any substance in the allegations, particularly at the time when a strong public opinion is building against corruption in public life.
The Government of Gujarat is also of the opinion that it is necessary to bring to the knowledge of the people of Gujarat the factual position obtaining on each of the allegations referred to above.
This has been necessitated to bring the ‘truth’ to the people over the allegations made by the Congress. The state government is committed to have a transparent inquiry into whatever allegations have been made, they said.
The Commission shall inquire and report into all the matters in relation to which the allegations of corruption, preferential treatment to selected Industrial Houses against the Government of Gujarat have been made in the aforesaid representation to the President. It will also inquire into if there was any lapse on the part of the Government of Gujarat in these matters.
A democratically elected government needs to be honest. Today the people of this country are annoyed against corruption and the Gujarat government desires that the truth be brought before its people, Mr Vyas said.
Talking about the appointment of Lokayukta in the state, Mr Vyas said since last six years the state government is seeking Congress’s cooperation in appointing a Lokayukta as it is so required under the Gujarat Lokayukta Act to have discussions with the Opposition Leader. But the Congress has always shown a negative approach and has not been forthcoming in this crucial matter of appointment of Lokayukta as it wanted a man of its choice.
The 17 allegations that the inquiry commission will inquire into are:
• Favoritism towards certain industrial houses
• Government negligence in this regard, if any
• Any other allegation that the inquiry commission deems it fit to inquire
• The commission will also study compare with other major States of India have given any special relaxation to Indurstrial Houses in land allotment, exemption from relaxation, deferment in sales tax, commercial tax, stamp duty or in any other matter.
• It will look into whther any previous governments of Gujarat after 1980 also gave any special relaxations to Industrial Houses in above mentioned criteria.
The Justice MB Shah Inquiry Commission will complete inquiry and submits its report to the State Government by March 31, 2012. The spokesmen said the terms of the Inquiry Commission is comprehensive and include all points raised by the Congress party in its memorandum to the President. It includes all the 15 points and excludes two points under consideration of the court.
The 15-point charter of allegations now handed over to the Inquiry Commission is as follows:
Allegation that land had been given to industries near the state capital at Gandhinagar at very low prices;
That Rs.33,000-crore concession had been allotted to the Tata’s Nano car project;
Over the land allotment to Adani Industrial House for Mundra Port and Mundra SEZ;
Allegation that costly prime land of Navsari Agricultural University has been allotted to Messrs Chhatrala Group of Hotels for constructing a five star hotel without auction;
Allegation of illegal allotment of Coastal Regulation Zone and Forest land and permission for construction given to Essar Group;
Allegation that huge tract of land has been allotted to a company, in which BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu is said to be associated with, to set up a Salt Chemicals Facility in Kutch district near Pakistan border;
Allegation that prime land has been allotted to Bharat Hotels Limited on the Ahmedabad Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway;
Allegation that land has been allotted to several industrialists and industrial houses near big cities for setting up industrial units;
Allegation that prime land has been given to L&T Company at Hazira-Surat at throwaway prices without auction;
Allegation over procurement of cattle-feed;
Allegation over nutritional fortified blended food for ‘anganwadis’;
Allegation concerning Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation;
Allegation that the Chief Minister was using luxury jet and helicopters of alleged beneficiaries of industrial houses;
Allegation of corruption in the Sujalam Sufalam Yojna for water resources; and
Allegation of direct interference by the Revenue Minister and the Chief Minister’s Office flouting all rules and regulations in the sale of 36.25-acre agricultural land to Mumbai-based Messrs IndiGold Refinery.
The spokesmen-ministers said the State Government itself today took a bold decision of getting all allegations investigated by the Justice M.B. Shah Commission, true to its image of maintaining exemplary political will in public life and to place the truth before the public in its entirety.