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

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.