Addressing a press conference at Panaji in the presence of leaders of various political parties and NGOs, Adv. Rodrigues strongly criticized Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for manipulating the appointment of an Yes-man Lokayukta. The press conference was attended amongst others by Trajano D’Mello of NCP, Sudip Tamankar of the Congress, Rajesh Marathe of the Shiva Sena, Floriano Lobo of the Goa Suraj Party and Tara Kerkar of Savera.
Adv. Rodrigues urged Goa Governor BV Wanchoo not to administer the oath to Justice Sudershan Reddy as the Goa Lokayukta which is scheduled for March 16th.
Adv. Rodrigues has stated that there was a consensus within all the political parties and the NGOs he spoke to of the need for having a sturdy and a non-partisan Goa Lokayukta.
Adv. Rodrigues stated that the selection of Justice Sudershan Reddy will be legally challenged besides taking the issue to the people’s Court for not being transparent and in accordance with law.
Recalling that the BJP had promised a very sturdy Lokayukta in 100 days, Adv. Rodrigues stated that after waiting for a year, Goa by way of Justice Sudershan Reddy was getting a toothless and a Yes man of the Chief Minister which was going to be an exercise in futility besides being a white elephant that Goa would be better off without.
Expressing doubts about whether Justice Sudershan Reddy’s had non-partisan credentials, Adv. Rodrigues pointed out that on July 12 last year Justice Sudershan Reddy had publicly expressed anger over the Telangana Congress MPs deciding to vote for Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential elections.
Adv. Rodrigues also pointed out that Sudershan Reddy’s swearing in ceremony on 5th December 2005 as Chief Justice of Guwahati High Court was a very controversial affair as he took a whole pack of over 100 fellow Andhraites to attend the function at the cost of Assam Government.
Adv. Rodrigues also demanded that Justice Sudershan Reddy should explain to the people of Goa as to why he recommended to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar those controversial and draconian amendments to the Goa Lokayukta Act that were passed in the last Assembly session.
Adv. Rodrigues further stated that Justice Sudershan Reddy should also state as to why he did not propose any other amendments that would give teeth to the Goa Lokayukta to crack the rampant prevailing corruption with an iron hand.
Strongly criticizing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for having entrusted Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni the task of searching a Lokayukta, Adv. Rodrigues stated that the Chief Minister should have instead written to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and some other High Court Chief Justices seeking names for the post of Lokayukta.
Coming down heavily on the government for not yet even preparing premises for the office of the Lokayukta, Adv. Rodrigues revealed that Governor Wanchoo on 28th January this year while addressing the Goa Legislative Assembly had wrongly stated in his address that the necessary infrastructure required to make the office of the Goa Lokayukta functional has been kept ready.
Suggesting that the Old Secretariat building at Panaji would be best suited to house the Lokayukta, Adv. Rodrigues demanded that the working of the Lokayukta should be totally insulated from any interference by the Chief Minister.