Monday, September 6, 2010


6 Sept 2010


From our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: The Bhartiya Janata Party lashed out at the Prime Minister for the third consecutive day on Monday on selection of Telecom Secretary P J Thomas as the new Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), claiming it was to frustrate the ongoing CBI probe into the 2G spectrum scam of over Rs 60,000 crores.

It urged the President Pratibha Patil to stop appointment of Thomas who is to be administered the oath of office by her on Tuesday as his conduct has not be above suspicion to accept him as a person of "impeccable integrity" as desired by the Supreme Court in its 1998 judgement.

Party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad told a Press conference at the BJP headquarters here that Lok Sabha Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj had insisted in the selection committee meeting that Thomas cannot be said to have an impeccable integrity.

Himself a senior advocate, Prasad read out a relevant part of the judgement in the case of Vineet Narain (journalist) versus Union of India and another, laying down the procedure for selecting the CVC and making the CBI subordinate to him:

"Selection for the post of CVC shall be made by a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Leader of the Opposition from a panel of outstanding civil servants and others with impeccable integrity, to be furnished by the Cabinet Secretary."

Prasad said Sushma Swaraj had insisted in the committee meeting to select any other officer or draw up a new panel instead of picking up Thomas in view of his past attempts to block the CVC's inquiries into the 2G spectrum allocation on the excuse that it cannot interfere in the policy matters. 

The CBI has since unearthed scam of no less than Rs 22,000 crores in the preliminary inquiry in raids conducted at the instance of the present CVC, but its further investigations will be hampered as that would have also involved probing the role of Thomas as the Telecom Secretary, Prasad said. 

Thomas already has a lot to explain on not objecting to the spectrum sale, nor did he complain to the Cabinet Secretary about his minister's A Raja's orders to bend rules benefiting particular parties, no did he take any remedial steps to save the massive loss to the exchequer, Prasad said.

He said the BJP's prime concern is over a pattern of the UPA government thrusting the kind of civil servants on the statutory and constitutional bodies that have the bearing on functioning of the democracy. The BJP had objected earlier on the same ground on appointment of Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla who has since retired, the BJP spokesman added.


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