The post of Deputy Lokayukta was created and filled a day ahead of announcement of Assembly polls held in December last year. This was informed through documents obtained under RTI Act show.
Within three days, the whole process of appointment — from writing a letter to Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court, seeking nomination of the suitable candidate, to finally approving the appointment — was completed, the documents received in response to an RTI query filed by transparency activist Ajay Dubey reveal. After the documents were made public, transparency activists have raised their voice at the lightening speed with which the appointment was processed.
"The appointment of Deputy Lokayukta was made within three days. It was done a day ahead of announcement of assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh. Why did government think of filling the post of Deputy Lokayukta towards the end of their tenure," asked Dubey.
According to the documents, former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had written to Madhya Pradesh Chief Justice on October 3, 2018, seeking the name of a suitable candidate for the post of Deputy Lokayukta.
On the same day, the high court chief justice replied to the CM's communique and recommended sitting judge, Justice Sushil Kumar Palo, who was due to retire on November 1, for the post, the documents show.
On October 5, the state government wrote to Lokayukt Justice NK Gupta, seeking his nod, a statutory requirement, for the appointment, which was received on the same day. Following which, Palo's appointment was approved by the government.
An order, mentioning the government's approval for creation of the post of Deputy Lokayukta and support staff, was sent to the Lokayukta's office on the same day, as per the documents.
The file was later sent to Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel for her approval, as per the statutory requirement.
Incidentally, the secretary to the governor approved the proposal, on the direction of the governor, on October 10, according to an order that said it was done after obtaining a 'no-objection certificate' from the Election Commission (as the elections were already announced by the poll body on October 6 and model code of conduct had come into force).