'Can't appoint anyone as ombudsman'

'Can't appoint anyone as ombudsman'

Speaking to mediapersons at the Children’s Day celebrations here, Bhardwaj said he had advised the government to appoint somebody credible to head the ombudsman.

“I have told the government that it is in their interest that they appoint the right Lokayukta,” he said. He said the government, which had suggested the name of former Kerala High Court judge S R Bannurmath, had however failed to consult the Opposition while doing so. “I have told them to find more names, preferably a Supreme Court judge,” he said. Bhardwaj criticised the government for the transfer of IPS officer Jeevan Kumar Gaonkar from the post of Lokayukta ADGP recently.

“I have told the chief minister that this is not a good development. The officers who were transferred (including Pranob Mohanty from the DIG post) were working on important cases. They were performing statutory duties and they shouldn’t have been disturbed. This does not inspire public confidence,” he added.

He said he had explained to the chief minister that all these matters were of serious concern.

“For the last two-and-half years, I have been continuously struggling against this kind of governance. These developments aren’t a healthy sign,” he added. On Justice M F Saldanha’s suggestion to appoint a Lokayukta from outside the State, he said Saldanha had made some appropriate suggestions. “But I have to follow the prescribed procedure,” he added.

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