Corruption case against Thomas not placed before panel:SC told

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New Delhi, Jan 27 (PTI) Government today appeared tohave tied itself in knots in the Supreme Court on theappointment of P J Thomas as CVC when it said a corruptioncase against him was not placed before the three-member panelheaded by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a claim contested byBJP which termed it as "untruth".

"It was not before the committee. The materialpertaining to the sanction for prosecution under section 120Bof the Indian Penal Code was not before the committee. Thebio-data did not reflect this aspect before the committee,"Attorney General G E Vahanvati said.

The AG''s response came before a bench headed by ChiefJustice S H Kapadia to a question whether the materialrelating to the chargesheet and sanction was presented beforethe committee.

The Government submission was contested by Leader ofOpposition in the Lok Sabha and a member of the selectionpanel, Sushma Swaraj, who said she had raised the corruptionissue before the Prime Minister and objected to theappointment of Thomas.

She said she would soon file an affidavit in the apexcourt on the issue.

In an unusual clarification in the afternoon, the AGtold reporters that the committee also including Home MinisterP Chidambaram may have discussed the case orally. "I don''tknow. There are no minutes."

He said during the morning court proceedings a specificquery was raised as to whether the papers and the filepertaining to the Palmolein case pending against Thomas, therequest for sanction of prosecution against him and thesubsequent correspondence were circulated before members ofthe committee.

"I made a statement from the record that the papers andfile were not circulated," the AG said adding when the counselfor the petitioner claimed that Swaraj had orally raised theissue, he had observed she had made a noting, "I disagree".

"Accordingly," Vahanvati said, "it was not possible forme to tell the court that what was or not discussed amongstthe members of the committee at the meeting."

The AG said he had never stated that the Palmolein casewas not discussed by the committee.

Replying to questions, he said, "what was discussed wasnot relevant to the query. It may have been discussed. I don''tknow. There are no details".

"We are not going into the merits of the case. We wantto know whether the material pertaining to charge sheetand the sanction were brought before the committee or not,"the court had asked in the morning.

"We want to know whether relevant material werebrought before the committee and whether these documents werebrought were before it," the bench also comprising K SRadhakrishnan and Swantanter Kumar said. .

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