CVC should step down: Retired Supreme Court judge

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

KOTTAYAM/NEW DELHI - It would be in the best interests of the country and of the high office he holds if Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) P.J. Thomas steps down, retired Supreme Court judge K.T. Thomas opined Wednesday.

Noting that that the office of the CVC should not be seen as a government office, K.T. Thomas told IANS: “The CVC is meant to tackle corruption and with the apex court now expressing a doubt, it would be good for Thomas himself that he steps down. He can always return when he is cleared.”

“What Thomas can even do is to tell the apex court that he is prepared to step down. If he does so, then he can even get to know what the court thinks of this,” the retired judge maintained.

At the same time, the former judge also said that when he headed a Kerala government committee on self-financing colleges a few years ago, the present CVC was a member of the panel.

“I found him to be a very upright officer.”

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that CVC Thomas would not be associated in any way with the supervision of the Central Bureau of Investigation’s probe into the 2G spectrum allotment scam.

On Tuesday, a bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly had expressed reservations on Thomas supervising the probe because, as secretary of the Department of Telecommunications, he had justified certain actions now under the CBI scanner.

Thomas is an accused in the palmoil case that was registered in 1999 when E.K.Nayanar was the chief minister. The other accused, who included former chief minister K.Karunakaran and bureaucrat Jiji Thompson, were charged with hatching a criminal conspiracy that caused a loss of Rs 2.32 crore to the state exchequer by importing 15,000 tonnes of palmoil from Malaysia at an inflated price.

The palmoil case has been heard in various courts in the country, including the Supreme Court, which has stayed its proceedings.

On his part, Thomas said Wednesday he would continue as the CVC despite the Supreme Court’s reservations about him.

“The government appointed me as CVC. I am continuing as CVC,” Thomas told reporters in New Delhi.

“There is some old case and the Supreme Court has already given a stay on it. After looking at everything, the government has appointed me as CVC and I am still the CVC,” Thomas said.

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