Posts Tagged ‘Ravi Nandan Singh’
Is Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta Prakash Prabhakar Naolekar sacrificing his integrity for the sake of his son? It would appear now that the agenda of reciprocity was decided at the time of his appointment which is mired in mystery. The Chauhan government is not releasing the papers pertaining to Naolekar’s appointment as Lokayukta, though these have been repeatedly sought under the RTI Act.
RTI activist Ajay Dubey said that they had filed a number of applications to the State government for providing the file notings and other relevant information related to the Lokayukta’s appointment. “But they are sitting on the applications in violation of the RTI rules.” Dubey now plans to approach the Supreme Court in this regard.
In the absence of exact information, only a broad guess can be made of what Chauhan may be trying to hide from public. Naolekar, a retired Supreme Court judge, was sworn in as Lokayukta on June 29,2009 which means his appointment was finalised some time before that. Consultation with the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly is mandatory for appointment of the Lokayukta. Then Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi had for some time been suffering from serious and complicated ailments like cancer and jaundice and had been spending more time in hospitals in Mumbai and Indore than outside. She was reported to be not in a state of mind lucid enough to discuss the State matters during those days. She died in September 2010.
Chauhan had frequently called on the ailing Jamuna Devi at Mumbai and Indore hospitals during that period. It is, therefore, likely that he may have quietly got her signature on the paper at a time when she was not in full control of her senses. Given to her fighting spirit, and more so because the “Dumper Scam” case against Chauhan and his wife Sadhna Singh Chauhan was pending before the Lokayukta, Jamuna Devi was less likely to agree on the name of a person who would later behave more like a power broker than as the head of the anti-corruption institution. Jamuna Devi was herself the author of the “Dumper Scam” complaint and she had a good perception of the people working at important positions in the State (she had been active in politics since 1952 when she was elected to the Assembly for the first time).
Naolekar showed in no time that he is an ideal companion to Shivraj Singh Chauhan because like the chief minister, he, too, believes in telling something for public consumption and doing exactly the opposite. After his swearing-in, he had boasted before the media persons at Raj Bhavan that he had never in his life worked under anybody’s pressure; he would perform his duties with honesty in future also; he was not bothered with anyone’s likes or dislikes; he would go strictly by the evidence; there would be no delay (in disposal of cases) on his part; the cases would be disposed of as soon as the evidence was produced; he would not allow the platform of the Lokayukta Organisation to be misused by any one; everyone was equal before him, whether he was a minister or an ordinary person; and lastly, his priority was expeditious disposal of the pending cases.
Having said all this, Naolekar went to the Lokayukta office and promptly took up a case for “expeditious” disposal. It was not a case that had been pending for long or had been agitating the public mind because of the dubious role played by Naolekar’s predecessor. The case that Naolekar took up so hurriedly was only a couple of months old and related to Ravi Nandan Singh, an old friend of Naolekar (both belong to Jabalpur). Besides, in his capacity as the Advocate-General at the time, Singh had played an important role in Naolekar’s appointment as the Lokayukta. Needless to say, the complaint of land grabbing by fraudulent means against Singh was dismissed “expeditiously” by friend Naolekar.
He has since been showing a great zeal for helping his friends in power without caring for law or judicial integrity and without bothering if he is being laughed at. He submitted the closure report on the “Dumper Scam” case on the most ridiculous grounds in utter disregard to the documentary evidence annexed to the complaint and special judge R P S Chauhan was only too happy to accept it and dismiss the complaint. Any respectable person in Naolekar’s place would have resigned when a junior judge (compared to his status as a former Supreme Court judge) repeatedly snubbed him and asked him to see the provisions in the law in the Sugnidevi College land scam case involving industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya. He is prepared to suffer any amount of humiliation in court rather than include Vijayvargiya’s name among the accused.
This friendship is not one-sided. Shivraj Singh Chauhan was recently on a ten-day tour of Hong Kong and China and he had included not only industries and commerce minister Kailash Vijayvargiya but also Lokayukta Naolekar’s son Sandip Naolekar in the official delegation. Suresh Seth, who is the complainant against Vijayvargiya and others in the Sugnidevi College land scam case, has submitted to the special court at Indore that Sandip Naolekar is the managing director of Darling Pumps, the company which has been engaged by the Chauhan government to supply sewage pumps to the department of environment and urban development (which possesses the crucial documents relevant to the complaint against Vijayvargiya and others)
Madhya Pradesh Congress leader K K Mishra had in fact foreseen how Naolekar would go about the complaint against Vijayvargiya. As soon as the case was entrusted by the Indore special court to the Lokayukta Organisation for investigation, Mishra had written a letter to Prakash Prabhakar Naolekar detailing the close relationship between the families of Vijayvargiya and Naolekar and the business interests of the latter’s son. Mishra had expressed the doubt that Naolekar would investigate the case even with a semblance of honesty!
The Prime Minister says that corruption at high levels needs to be tackled. The Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta says the people are not much concerned with corruption at higher levels. Both appear to be off the mark.
Manmohan Singh last month urged the CBI and anti-corruption agencies of the States to go “aggressively” after “high level corruption” to change the public perception that “petty cases get tackled quickly but the big fish escape punishment”. Addressing the officials from the CBI and anti-corruption bureaus from the States, he said, “Rapid, fair and accurate investigation of allegations of corruption in high places should remain your utmost priority. The nation expects you to act firmly, swiftly and without fear or favour”.
Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta Prakash Prabhakar Naolekar, who is a retired Supreme Court judge, said in an interview to a newspaper early this month that corruption at high levels affected only the companies and the influential people while aam aadmi was not much concerned with that. He said while he was yet to go into the complaints against ministers and senior bureaucrats, his priority was for immediate action when there was a complaint against a patwari.
How did the Prime Minister expect the policemen to become honest and upright overnight? Those who join the police force at whatever level grow in corruption (with exceptions, though not very high) under the patronage of their political bosses (irrespective of their party affiliations). Any number of cases can be cited to show how the police officers have been rewarded for turning a blind eye to the illegal activities of those loyal to the party in power and the police officers who have tried to stick to law have been sidelined and even punished. More than five years in office, Manmohan Singh has not taken any initiative to make the police force people-friendly by scrapping the mde-in-Britain Police Act of 1861 and enacting a new law suited to a welfare State.
Justice Prakash Prabhakar Naolekar has virtually put his foot in his mouth by making the absurd observation. He assumed office in the last week of June. After his swearing-in by the Governor at Raj Bhavan, he drove to the Lokayukta Office and within the hour he had called for the file pertaining to former Advocate-General Ravi Nandan Singh who has been accused of illegally adding to his property. How many of the people are concerned with the action of Ravi Nandan Singh so that it needed to be taken up at the topmost priority, the Lokayukta has not explained. All that one knows is that Naolekar and Singh are old friends and Singh (then Advocate-General) was instrumental in Naolekar’s appointment as Lokayukta on Ripusudan Dayal’s retirement.
Naolekar has apparently conveyed that he may not be interested in investigating the corruption complaints against the chief minister and other ministers because the people are, according to him, not concerned with the corruption at that level. When the chief minister hands over mines without consulting the farmers who own the land to a cement factory and unleashes his trigger-happy police on the farmers when they protest, Naolekar may like everybody to believe that this is not a matter of much public concern. Nor is it a matter of concern to the people, going by the Lokayukta’s axiom, if the health minister and the director of health services pocket hundreds of crores of rupees earmarked for purchase of medicines for the government hospitals and dispensaries.