CVC issue: PM accepts responsibility, blames Chavan for fiasco

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was unaware of the corruption case against PJ Thomas.

New Delhi: Facing attack over P J Thomas`
appointment as CVC, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said
he was unaware of the corruption case against him and
virtually blamed former MoS (Personnel) Prithviraj Chavan for
the faisco, contending the key information was not provided.

Singh, while owning "accountability" for the
controversial appointment, told the Rajya Sabha that he gave
his approval as he believed vigilance clearance would have
been obtained as Thomas had earlier served as Kerala Chief
Secretary and Secretary in the Central government.

Responding to clarifications sought by Leader of the
Opposition Arun Jaitley and Left members after his suo motu
statement, Singh said, "Until I went to the meeting of the
committee, I was not aware there was any such case of
Palmolein and that would involve corruption."

He said he "became aware of this case only when the
honourable Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha (Sushma
Swaraj) raised the issue in the meeting (of the three-member
committee headed by him on September 3, 2010) itself."
Pointing out that the notes for such committees are
prepared "under the guidance of Minister of State incharge of
the DoPT", the Prime Minister said, "The honest answer is that
the note which was prepared by the DoPT ... did not contain
this information about charge sheet."

Chavan, who is now Maharashtra Chief Minister, was the
MoS incharge of DoPT at the time of Thomas` selection by the
committee headed by the Prime Minister and comprising the Home
Minister and Leader of the Opposition.

After his statement, Jaitley, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) and
D Raja (CPI) made pointed queries, asking what were the
"compulsions" to appoint Thomas and whether anybody will be
held accountable for pushing his case.

Questioning why the other two candidates with "cleaner
record" were overlooked, Jaitley wanted to know the reasons
for government being bent upon choosing "Thomas and Thomas
alone" despite Swaraj saying that the Committee should be
given more time in view of the charge sheet against him.

Explaining why he still gave his approval to Thomas` name
even when Swaraj raised objections, Singh said, "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."

Singh, who made such a statement on the CVC fiasco in the
Lok Sabha yesterday, reiterated that the selection was an
"error of judgement" and he took full responsibility for it.

Left members were not satisfied with the reply and staged
a walkout.

Jaitley said while Singh was "gracious enough" to accept
responsibility and accountability, he wanted to know what he
proposed to do in this regard.
Chavan passes the buck to Kerala govt

Pune: As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
appeared to blame him for CVC P J Thomas appointment fiasco,
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday sought to
pass the buck to the Kerala government.

"DoPT had suggested three names -- two retired officers
and one serving--- for the post. One of them was Chief
Secretary in a state to be brought to Delhi. Vigilance
clearance is done by the state," Chavan told reporters here.

On Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s statement, Chavan
said "what the Prime Minister has said is correct. He himself
doesn`t go and see. Whatever biodata were placed before him by
the department, he decided on its basis. He chose one of the
names recommended by the DoPT. That`s a fact," he said.



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