New Delhi: The Centre moved to sack Kamla Beniwal, who was named Mizoram governor only a month ago, mainly as she had caused the Gujarat government a loss of Rs 1,216 crores by sitting on legislation passed by the Assembly last year, it is learnt. The second key charge against the former governor was alleged involvement in an illegal land deal in Rajasthan, her home state.
The Union home ministry submitted these two reasons — of causing a loss to the state exchequer and lowering the dignity and prestige of the high office of governor by Ms Beniwal — to President Pranab Mukherjee as grounds for her dismissal.
The Congress, however, tried to give it a political tone by accusing the BJP of a “political and communal vendetta”. Ms Beniwal’s case is a rare instance of a governor being removed from office on the grounds of “inordinately delaying state legislation”. Interestingly, the law in question was the amendment to the Gujarat Lokayukta Act 1986, passed by the Gujarat Assembly in 2013 during the tenure of Narendra Modi as chief minister.
The home ministry, in its report to the President, said Ms Beniwal kept the bill pending “despite the financial loss being caused to the state of which she was executive head”. On July 31, the Gujarat chief secretary wrote to the home ministry making out a case against the former governor. The Gujarat government said it had lost Rs 1,216 crores of the general performance grant and special area performance grant from the finance ministry because of the inordinate delay caused by Ms Beniwal in giving her assent to the Gujarat Lokayukta Act 1986.
In his letter, the chief secretary told the MHA that the 13th Finance Commission prescribed certain conditions for recommending these grants, including the need for a notification of legislation to bring elected representatives under an independent ombudsman or lokayukta.
Separately, the MHA also sought detailed reports from the Rajasthan government after it got a memorandum from the President’s office in May 2012 and December 2012 regarding complaints by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari and former MP Kirit Somaiyya of unethical involvement of Ms Beniwal as Gujarat governor in a cooperative society in the state.