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Gujarat govt wants Lokayukta post to be filled soon

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Gujarat govt wants Lokayukta post to be filled soon
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Ahmedabad: A day after Justice (retd) R A Mehta declined to take up the office of Gujarat Lokayukta, the State government has said they are assessing legal options and they do not want the post to stay vacant for long.

"We strongly believe that the post of state Lokayukta should not stay vacant for longer time now. We are assessing the situation and have asked the legal experts to soon chart out the next course of action," state finance minister and government spokesperson Nitin Patel told PTI.

Giving a new fillip to the controversy over the Lokayukta issue, Mehta, whose appointment as Gujarat Lokayukta was opposed by Narendra Modi government, Wednesday declined to assume office, saying the controversy has "denigrated" the office of the anti-corruption watchdog.

A retired Gujarat High Court judge, Mehta blasted the Modi government for calling him "biased" and "anti-government" while opposing his appointment.

To a question whether the state government would persuade Justice Mehta to withdraw his decision not to assume office, Patel said, "As I said we are still in the process of assessing all possible options. I cannot tell you anything more on this."

The State government yesterday said that it was wrong on Mehta's part to say that the government was opposed to him, whereas, the state government was opposing the process under which he was appointed as Lokayukta by Governor.

Meanwhile, former Gujarat Lokayukta, Justice R M Soni has strongly opined that despite Mehta deciding not to take up the Lokayukta post, the Modi government should request him to assume office.

"I strongly believe and wish that the state government would request Justice R A Mehta to re-consider his decision not to assume office of the Lokayukta," Justice Soni told PTI.

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