LEADER OF Opposition in the state assembly Swami Prasad Maurya has written to Governor Ram Naik clarifying his stand during the process adopted for selection of Lokayukta last month, in which the Supreme Court had to intervene and use its special powers to appoint Justice (retd) Virendra Singh as the state’s anti-corruption ombudsman.
The Governor, confirming that the senior BSP leader presented before him a letter during their meeting Wednesday evening, said he has now sought separate response from Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, D Y Chandrachud — the two other members of the three-member panel that discussed five names from which the Supreme Court eventually picked the Lokayukta.
Contents of Maurya’s letter, however, could not be ascertained as both the BSP leader and the Governor refused to discuss the details. While Maurya termed his visit to the Governor House as “a courtesy meeting” and denied writing the letter, Naik said he has written letters to the CM and the CJ in which he has referred to the “detailed facts given to me by Maurya about the exact happenings during the two-day selection committee meeting before court decided to exercise its special powers”. “I would not say much before I get their response.”
Earlier, the Chief Justice had shot off a letter to the Governor, expressing his “disapproval” in the way the state government forwarded Singh’s name despite him pointing out his reservation and despite the government agreeing to not forward Singh’s name to the apex court for consideration.
The CJ, in his letter dated December 16, 2015, wrote to Naik, “During the course of the meeting, Chief Minister suggested the name of Shri Justice Virendra Singh, who retired on January 3, 2011 and is presently the President of the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, I had indicated my strong reservations to the name…on grounds of integrity, and expressed my inability to agree to the name.”
The CJ had, in his letter, also pointed out that he was made aware of the “matrimonial alliance between the families of Virendra Singh and senior cabinet minister Shivpal Singh Yadav”. This was, however, he had said, “subject to further verification.” On December 27, Shivpal Yadav, in a statement, rejected claims there was any such family relation with Virendra Singh.
The CJ’s letter had prompted a petition by one Sachidanand Gupta, which had led to the court putting a stay on Virendra Singh’s appointment on December 19, a day before Singh was to take his oath. The petitioner had cited objections raised by the Chief Justice.