Ex-Top Court Judge Justice PC Ghose Set To Be First Lokpal: Sources

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The selection was made after the Supreme Court set the government a deadline.

New Delhi:

Retired Supreme Court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose is likely to be the country's first Lokpal, or the anti-corruption ombudsman, sources said today. The others members of the Lokpal would include four former High Court judges and four former civil servants, the sources added. The selection was made weeks after the February-end deadline set by the Supreme Court.

Justice Ghose's name was finalised and recommended by the Selection Committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi. Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge did not attend the meeting.

Passed in 2013, the Lokpal Act involves the setting up of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants.

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The panel to choose the candidates — headed by the prime minister — includes the Lok Sabha speaker, leader of the opposition in the lower house, the Chief Justice of India or any judge of the Supreme court he nominates, and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any other member.

President Ram Nath Kovind nominated Mukul Rohatgi, the former Attorney General of India, as the ''eminent jurist''.

But the selection committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed to meet over a row about the attendance of senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.

Mr Kharge had refused to attend the meetings after he was designated a "special invitee".

Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi tweeted: "Exceedingly happy to see the announcement of LOKPAL. It shall strengthen all anti-corruption systems in the country and give a big boost to vigilance work at all levels. Thank #AnnaHazare for having led and persevered for this cause. Jai Hind."

Justice Ghose was appointed as the judge of the Calcutta High Court in 1997 and elevated to the Supreme Court in 2013.

As the Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, he had convicted Sasikala, the live-in companion of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in a corruption case.

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