Chief Vigilance Commissioner Thomas under scrutiny

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned the tenability of Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) P J Thomas supervising the CBI’s investigations into the 2G spectrum scam.

A bench of justices comprising G S Singhvi and Ashok Kumar Ganguly pointed out that since the CBI functions under the over all supervision of the CVC it would be difficult for Thomas to objectively monitor the investigations.

“CBI is functioning under the CVC, at that time he was functioning as Telecom Secretary. It would be difficult for him to objectively monitor.”

However, senior counsel K K Venugopal appearing for the CBI, submitted that there was a provision for allowing one of the Vigilance Commissioner to take over the functions of the CVC.

The apex court had earlier asked the Central Government if Thomas could function effectively in view of various charges levelled against him.

“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,” a bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia observed after Attorney General G E Vahanvati placed the file in a sealed cover before it.

The name of Thomas figures in the chargesheet filed in a palmoleine export case.

The apex court had screened the file on the appointment of former telecom secretary P J Thomas as the chief vigilance commissioner, to verify whether he met the eligibility criterion of a “bureaucrat with an impeccable track record”.

The apex court had ordered the government to produce the file in response to a PIL that alleged that Thomas had failed the “impeccable track record” test as he was chargesheeted in the palmolein import scam when he was the chief secretary of Kerala.

The PIL, argued by Prashant Bhushan, also alleged that the UPA Government had breached the precedent of unanimity between the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Leader of Opposition, followed in appointing the new CVC. (ANI)

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