by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
Lokpal story with exclusive details.
Country gets first Lokpal after 50 years
Justice PC Ghose to be First Lokpal,
Justice Abhilasha Kumari, Archana Ramasundaram, others recommended Maharashtra Chief Secretary also under consideration Justice Bobde part of Selection Committee
New Delhi, March 17
Pinaki Chandra Ghose, a former judge of the Supreme Court, will be country's first Lokpal who will hold the post of Chairman.
Apart from justice Ghose, the Selection Committee headed by the Prime Minister, also cleared the names of justice Abhilasha Kumari, a former chief justice of the Manipur high court, Archana Ramasundaram, a former Director-General of Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB) and a few others.
Highly placed sources say that the selection committee also considered the name of Dinesh Kumar Jain, Chief Secretary of the Maharashtra government who is currently on extension. It is not immediately known if his name was cleared for the post of Lokpal.
Under the Lokpal Act, the anti-corruption ombudsman will consist of a chairperson and eight members, of which 50% will be judicial members, 50% members of Lokpal shall be from SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women.
Justice Ghose had convicted J Jayalalithaa's aide Sasikala in a corruption case. Interestingly, Justice Abhilasha Kumari is a daughter of former Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. She had served as a judge of the Gujrat high court when Modi was Chief Minister. It was in 2018 when she was made Chief Justice of the Manipur high court and retired after serving for a month only.
Archana Ramasundaram is the first ever woman chief of any central armed police force and had retired from service in 2017.
A senior bureaucrat from Haryana who was once considered close to Chautalas also figured in the list of those probables.
With the creation of Lokpal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi fulfilled his commitment to give country its first Lokpal which is empowered to inquire into corruption in high places including the office of the PM.
Interestingly, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi did not attend Friday's meeting that continued late in the night. Instead, he sent Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, a judge of the Supreme Court. Justice Bobde will is the next CJI in line after Justice Gogoi. Justice Bobde is also serving as the Chancellor of Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai and Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur.
Besides, PM and Justice Bobde, Speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan, Mallikarjun Kharge and eminent jurist Mukul Rohtagi are the members. Kharge didn't attend the meeting. The Selection Committee strictly went by the panel of 20 names recommended by the Search Committee. Justice A K Sikri who is a retired judge of the Supreme Court was disinterested in the post, say sources.
Lokpal's jurisdiction will cover all categories of public servants. All entities (NGOs) receiving donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs 10 lakh per year are under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
Lokpal will have power of superintendence and direction over any central investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the ombudsman.