Congress declines to comment on court’s remarks on CVC

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Congress Tuesday declined to comment on the Supreme Court’s reservations about the objectivity of Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) P.J. Thomas if he were to supervise a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

I don’t think there is need for a reaction, Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said here.

In the course of a hearing, the honourable court makes different observations to elicit best point of view from rival parties. It is axiomatic that such points are not used for comments. The court speaks through written order, he added.

He said queries pertaining to Thomas should be directed at the union home ministry.

Another Congress leader said on the condition of anonymity that the court’s observations were an “embarrassment” to the government.

He said that though Thomas had the qualification to be the CVC, the post demanded that the incumbent was also seen to be completely above board.

The apex court Tuesday expressed reservations about the objectivity of Thomas and said that as secretary of the department of telecom, Thomas had justified certain actions that were now under the scanner of the Central Bureau of Investigation which is probing the scam.

It would be very difficult for him to be objective if he were to supervise the CBI probe, said the bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly.

The court observation came in the wake of submission by senior counsel K.K. Venugopal that the supervision of the investigation by the CBI could only be done by the statutory authority. Under the statute, the CVC is the supervising authority of the CBI.

The question of supervision by people of independent and impeccable credentials came up in the court after the central government informed it that it had no objection to the court monitoring the CBI investigation into the scandal.

Venugopal told the court that the supervision of the investigation could be done by the vigilance commissioner, whose appointment procedure is the same as that of the CVC. Former Karnataka director general of police R. Shree Kumar is the vigilance commissioner.

Agreeing on Shree Kumar’s name, senior counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), wondered who will be the second person to supervise the CBI investigation.

Veugopal told the court that there were two vigilance commissioners.

Filed under: Court, Immigration

will not be displayed