New Delhi: Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar
was on Saturday unanimously chosen the next Chief Vigilance
Commissioner, four months after the Supreme Court had quashed
the appointment of P J Thomas to the post.
Though no official announcement has been made yet,
sources said Kumar, who retires as Defence Secretary on July
31, was chosen by consensus by a panel comprising Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
Kumar, who will be 60 this month, is a Haryana cadre
IAS officer of the 1972 batch. He was Secretary, Defence
Production, before becoming the Defence Secretary. He will
have a five year term as he will have to demit office on
attaining age of 65 under the CVC Act.
Swaraj, who had opposed in writing the appointment of
Thomas as CVC, had no objection to Kumar`s candidature.
"The name has been finalised... I have not raised any
objection," Swaraj told reporters after the 20-minute meeting
at the Prime Minister`s official residence but she did not
disclose the name.
Sources had said that a list of probable candidates
were prepared by the Department of Personnel and Training
which placed it before the selection panel.
Those whose names figured in the initial list included
Pradeep Kumar, former Home Secretary G K Pillai, former
Chemicals and Fertilisers Secretary Bijoy Chatterjee, former
Secretary, Legislative Affairs V K Bhasin, former Urban
Development Secretary M Ramachandran and Personnel Secretary
Alka Sirohi. Pillai and Sirohi are said to have opted out of
Thomas` selection in September last had created a
major controversy with reports coming out about his facing a
charge sheet in the palmolein import scandal in Kerala.
A war of words erupted between the government and the
opposition after Swaraj had recorded her dissent to the
selection of Thomas, a Kerala cadre officer.
The Supreme Court had on March 3 set aside the
appointment of Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner.
In the midst of a raging controversy, the Prime
Minister had also accepted responsibility for the selection.
The apex court had termed as "illegal" the September
3, 2010 recommendation for appointment of Thomas as CVC since
the high-powered committee did not consider the pending charge
sheet against Thomas in the palmolein import scam.