THE STATE government on Tuesday amended a 48-year-old law to bring the office of the chief minister (CM) under the purview of the state’s ombudsman, the Lokayukta.
Based on the recommendations of a one-man committee, the state Cabinet approved a proposal to make changes to the Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta Act, 1971, in a bid to lend more teeth to the anti-corruption watchdog.
Talking to mediapersons, Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan said that apart from the Chief Minister’s Office, offices of all ministers and also the Opposition leader would be brought under the Lokayukta.
A state-appointed committee, under retired bureaucrat Satish Tripathi, had recommended the move last April. It had also suggested certain other changes to lend more teeth to the office of the Lokayukta. Sources said that these had been accepted.
Incidentally, while in Opposition, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had often attacked the previous Congress-NCP regime on the matter.
He had also introduced a private member’s bill to give more powers to the Lokayukta.
Ironically, two key provisions that Fadnavis’ private member’s bill had recommended — giving Lokayukta the power to carry out search and seizure and granting the ombudsman administrative control over the police’s anti-corruption bureau — are missing from the amendments approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday, said sources.