President cancels Thomas’s appointment as CVCMarch 15th, 2011 - 8:37 am ICT by ANI
New Delhi, Mar. 15 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil has cancelled the appointment of P.J. Thomas as Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) after the Supreme Court declared the appointment void on March 3 for his alleged involvement in a corruption case in Kerala in the 1990s.
“The President has cancelled the warrant of appointment of Thomas,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesman said.
Thomas occupied the post of CVC for six months.
The court said the appointment made by a high-powered committee, consisting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj did not exist in law. Swaraj had dissented with Thomas’ selection.
Last Saturday, a lawyer representing Thomas said the latter would file a review petition before the Supreme Court contesting the apex court’s verdict of quashing his appointment.
His lawyer said that Thomas has asked for a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court to hear his petition.
The Supreme Court had earlier this month set aside Thomas’ appointment as the head of the Central Vigilance Commission, on grounds that a high-powered committee comprising of the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister and Leader of Opposition did not consider a pending charge sheet against the former in the Palmolein import scam of the 1980s.
The Supreme Court also laid down stringent guidelines for selecting a chief vigilance commissioner in the future.
The court set aside the September 3, 2010 recommendation for appointment of Thomas as CVC as ‘illegal’.
Last Friday, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury had criticized Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for blaming the Government of Kerala for not informing him of cases pending against Thomas.
Expressing his astonishment that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) did not have background knowledge of its officers, Yechury said the Kerala Government had also cited a letter informing the Center about pending cases against Thomas.
“When the Prime Minister made the statement in Rajya Sabha - saying that ’since the Kerala Government made Mr. Thomas the chief secretary’, so he presumed that the vigilance clearance was there. At that time, if you recollect, I protested and walked out of the House saying we disagreed with that statement,” said Yechury.
“Subsequently, the facts have now come out, where the Kerala government in early part of 2008 (had) written to the DoPT saying that they are not willing to consider the case of deputation of Thomas to the central government because of a pending vigilance case and this pending Palmolein (oil) case. So it is absolutely incorrect to state that this Kerala government had not informed the Centre about this case,” he added.
Last week, Prime Minister Singh blamed former junior minister Prithviraj Chavan for omitting to mention the charge-sheet against Thomas in the file put up to the three-member panel, headed by Dr. Singh himself, to consider the official’s suitability for the post of Central Vigilance Commissioner.
The Prime Minister also admitted to a lapse of judgment on his part.
“Until I went to the meeting, I was not aware that there was any such case, that too involving corruption till Leader of the Opposition [Lok Sabha] Sushma Swaraj raised it at the selection meeting,” he said.
Dr. Singh told the Rajya Sabha that he approved the appointment because he felt the official must have been cleared of the charges as he had then taken up two senior-level appointments - Chief Secretary of Kerala and Union Telecom Secretary.
Pointing out that the files for such selections were prepared under the guidance of Minister of State in charge of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Dr. Singh said: “The honest answer is that the note which was prepared by the DoPT…did not contain this information about the charge sheet.”
“Since the gentleman was appointed Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala, and that he was appointed as Secretary to two departments of the Government of India, I thought vigilance matters must have been looked into, and therefore, we went ahead with the selection process,” he added.
Chavan had said that the Kerala Government cleared Thomas for Central deputation.
Thomas, who is facing a corruption case in a Kerala court, handed over his resignation to the government more than a week ago.
A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia delivered its verdict on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that sought removal of Thomas from the position of CVC.
The apex court, which had on February 10 reserved its on petitions challenging the appointment of Thomas, said that the appointment was illegal and that he must go.
The Centre for Public Interest Litigation, an NGO and others had earlier challenged Thomas’s appointment as the CVC, quoting the Palmolein import corruption case in which Thomas is an accused. (ANI)
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- CVC fiasco: Prithviraj Chavan is lying, says Kerala CM Achuthanandan - Mar 10, 2011
- PM accepts responsibility, says Prithviraj prepared Thomas's file - Mar 08, 2011
- CVC row: Chavan meets Sonia (Lead) - Mar 10, 2011
- Supreme Court questions Govt. on CVC appointment - Feb 03, 2011
- 'I am still the CVC', says Thomas - Jan 31, 2011
- Chidambaram defends CVC's appointment - Jan 31, 2011
- Apex court, BJP question CVC's appointment, Moily meets PM (Roundup) - Jan 28, 2011
- CVC appointment: Moily meets PM, Swaraj to file affidavit in apex court (Intro Roundup) - Jan 28, 2011
- Sushma Swaraj to challenge Govt. on CVC appointment in court - Jan 27, 2011
- Congress defends CVC Thomas over corruption allegations - Jan 28, 2011
- Supreme Court strikes down appointment of CVC P.J. Thomas - Mar 03, 2011
- CPI-M to react over CVC fiasco after PM's statement in Parliament: Yechury - Mar 05, 2011
- New CVC will be appointed soon: Manmohan Singh - Mar 08, 2011
Tags: apex court, central vigilance commission, communist party of india, communist party of india marxist, constitution bench, corruption case, department of personnel and training, kerala government, leader of opposition, Lok Sabha, manmohan singh, p chidambaram, politburo member, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, rashtrapati bhavan, sitaram yechury, stringent guidelines, sushma swaraj, union home minister