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  • SC to hear PIL against appointment of Thomas as CVC today

    Published on December 6, 2010

    The crucial hearing on the controversial appointment of Central Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas, who is an accused in a criminal case in Kerala, will come up in the Supreme Court Monday.

    A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia, Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar will hear a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging Thomas’s appointment to the constitutional post.

    Speculation is rife that Thomas may step down from his post ahead of the Court hearing.

    Thomas faced stinging observation from the apex court on his capacity as CVC chief to oversee CBI investigations in the 2G spectrum allocation scam in view of his name figuring in the Palmolein import scam in Kerala.

    Thomas, till recently Secretary in the Union Telecom Ministry which is at the centre of the 2G scam, was appointed CVC on 7th September  this year by a three-member panel consisting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.

    The senior BJP leader however opposed the appointment and gave a dissenting note.

    In the previous hearings, the UPA government had to face embarrassment after the

    Apex Court had raised a series of questions relating to his appointment as CVC.

    The bench which sought the file pertaining to the appointment of Thomas had observed “Without looking into the file, we are concerned that if a person is an accused in a criminal case how will he function as CVC.”

    “We will sit together and go through the file”, it had said.

    “Under the service jurisprudence, a person cannot even be considered for promotions when a chargesheet is pending against him,” the bench said.

    “At this stage as a chargesheet is pending against him since 2000, he is not even considered to be promoted. We are only suggesting whether he will be able to function as CVC. He himself will be an embarrassment,” it said.

    The two PILs–one filed by an NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation and other by the former CEC–had contended that Thomas was considered for the crucial post despite objection from the Leader of the Opposition who was part of a high-power committee for the appointment of CVC.

    The petitioners had contended that Thomas could not be considered as a person of “impeccable integrity” as he was chargesheeted in the Palmoleine import scam when he was Kerala’s Secretary in the state Ministry of Food and Civil Supplies and had secured bail from the local court.

    The PILs said he also could not be appointed as CVC on account of “conflict of interest” as till recently he was serving as the Secretary in Telecom Ministry and there was allegation that he was involved in the cover-up of the 2G spectrum scam, which, according to the petitioners, has caused a loss of Rs 70,000 to the state exchequer.

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