CVC PJ Thomas proclaims his integrity to SC

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PJ Thomas
New Delhi, Jan 24: After an intermittent lull in the controversial case involving the appointment of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner and bureaucrat P J Thomas, the case is back in the limelight again today (Jan 24). He opposed the petition in the Supreme Court seeking his removal as Central Vigilance Commissioner saying he was a person of "impeccable integrity" and became a "victim of political battle".

In his affidavit, the CVC expressed gratitude to the apex court for giving him opportunity to respond to the allegations made against him.

Thomas, who was appointed as CVC on Sept 7, 2010 was issued notices on petitions filed by NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and some other eminent persons including former Chief Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh against his appointment.

The CVC in his affidavit has taken identical stand like the Centre that no statutory norms were violated in his appointment.

The affidavit filed through advocate Wills Mathew maintained that Thomas was an "outstanding officer" with "impeccable integrity" and he is a victim of a "political battle". Thomas' response came against the backdrop of a notice issued by a bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia on December 6 last on various petitions challenging his appointment as CVC despite having been chargesheeted in the Palmolein oil import case in Kerala.

The petitioners argued that Thomas cannot not be considered as a person of "impeccable integrity" as he was chargesheeted in the Palmolein import scam when he was a secretary in the Kerala Ministry of Food and Civil Supplies and had secured bail from the local court.

It was also alleged that he was appointed against the procedure despite opposition from Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj who was part of a three-member committee also comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram.

The PILs said he could not be appointed CVC on account of "conflict of interest" as till recently he was serving as 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 crore to the state exchequer. However, CAG in its report has stated that there was a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

Later, during the hearing of 2G spectrum scam, the government informed that Thomas has recused from supervising the CBI in its investigation in the case.

PTI

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