Committee not aware of charge sheet against CVC: Govt tells SC

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Jan 27 (PTI) The government today told theSupreme Court that the issue of charge sheet against CVC P JThomas in a corruption case and sanction granted by Keralagovernment for his prosecution were not brought before thehigh-powered committee for selecting a candidate for the post.

This was stated by Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvatibefore a bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, whichwanted to know if the issue of sanction and the charge sheetagainst Thomas was presented before the three-member committeeheaded by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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

The response of Vahanvati came on a question from thebench whether the material relating to the charge sheet andsanction was presented before the committee.

"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.

"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..

The apex court bench said it wanted to know if correct procedure was followed in the appointment of the CVC.

"We want to know whether correct procedure wasfollowed or the procedure was vitiated," it said and asked,"How many people were in the zone of selection for the CVC?"

It also said it wanted to know about details of theempanelment.

The bench said it was making it clear that theseaspects had to be examined at the very threshold.

"We want to know whether relevant material wasconsidered by the high-powered committee at the threshold ornot?," it said.

"This is the priority on which we will go and not onthe merits of the case," the bench said.

The bench told counsel Prashant Bhushan, who isrepresenting petitioner NGO, Centre for Public InterestLitigation, which has moved the court questioning the legalityof the CVC''s appointment, that while the attorney general hasanswered its questions, he will have to now give his argumentson the selection issue.

"Now the AG has said. You tell us whether thisvitiates the process for selection," the bench said.

Bhushan questioned the stand of the government on theissue of sanction, saying, "How will Thomas function as CVCwhen a sword is hanging over his head?"

The bench said it would also like to go into thefiles relating to his appointment.The attorney general in turnsaid that all the four files will be placed before the court.

Bhushan had said that the files pertaining to thecharge sheet against Thomas in a corruption case was notplaced before the three-member panel which also included HomeMinister P Chidambaram and the Leader of the Opposition in LokSabha Sushma Swaraj. The name of Thomas was opposed by Swaraj.

The CPIL and others have challenged Thomas''appointment as CVC, contending that he was considered for thecrucial post despite objection from the Leader of theOpposition.

The petitioners have sought the court''s direction todeclare Thomas'' appointment as illegal contending that therewas violation of Section 4 of the CVC Act as the PrimeMinister and the Home Minister insisted upon his name despiteobjection by the Leader of the Opposition, which shows thegovernment had decided in advance to appoint him.

The PIL has said Thomas could not be appointed as CVCon account of "conflict of interest" as till recently he wasserving as the Secretary in Telecom Ministry and there was anallegation that he was involved in the "cover-up" of the 2Gspectrum scam, which, according to the petitioner, had causeda huge loss to the state exchequer.

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