Skip to main content

Ex-BJP chief minister: Why is Gujarat govt afraid of releasing findings of inquiry into corruption under Modi?

Suresh Mehta
By Our Representative
Amidst fresh charges of misappropriation flying high against Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel over giving away land off Gir lions sanctuary in Junagarh at throw away price to partners of her daughter, Gujarat's civil society groups have put up a strong demand to make public findings of the MB Shah Commission, set up in 2011 to investigate into allegations of 14 corruption cases involving state government officials and ministers.
The decision to set up the Commission was taken by the then chief minister Narendra Modi following a Gujarat Congress representation to the President of India to inquire into allocation of land at a highly subsidized rate to industrial groups such as Adanis, Essar and Tata, apart from several scams related animal fodder, supply of fortified flour to anganwadis, oil-and-gas exploration by the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, and construction of Sujalam Sufalam recharge canal in North Gujarat.
The MB Shah Commission handed over its Interim Report to the state government on September 27, 2012, and  final report on November 6, 2013. The only official statement so far on the findings of the report is by Cabinet spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas, who said on September 27, 2012 – the day electoral code of conduct came into force for the assembly polls of December 2012 – that the Commission had given “clean chit to the Modi government."
Addressing media on Tuesday, former BJP chief minister Suresh Mehta, who backed the civil society groups’ demand, said, even today “nobody knows whether final report of the MB Shah Commission has been placed before the Gujarat Cabinet.” 
Others who addressed the media to demand release of the report included Gautam Thaker, General Secretary, Citizens for Democracy; Prakash Shah, President, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat; Mahesh Pandya of Gujarat Social Watch; and Hemantkumar Shah, who teaches economics in a Gujarat University-affiliated college.
Media persons were informed, several Right to Information (RTI) pleas for making the report public were rejected on the ground that, under the Commission of Inquiries Act, it should first be placed in the state assembly after being approved by the Cabinet. 
While the state government maintained that the report was “lying with the Raj Bhawan”, one reason why it was not being made public, in reply to a RTI plea, the Raj Bhawan said, the report is not with the Governor, but with the General Administrative Department of the state government.
“We don’t even today know where the report is”, Mehta said, adding, “This is not the only report which the state government is refusing to make public. There are in all five inquiry commission reports, lying idle with the state government, one of them being the final report of the Nanavati-Shah Commission, set up in 2002 to inquire into the Gujarat riots.”
Answering a query on what purpose it would serve to make public the report as it is unofficially learnt there is “there is nothing in it", Mehta said, “The MB Shah Commission cannot hope to give clean chit to the state government on handing over cheap land to industrial houses, because everything is on record. Similarly, facts on Sujalam Sufalam recharge canal scam are on record.” Added Pandya, “Shockingly,the Congress, too, is refusing to make it an issue.”

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”