Former CVC N Vittal backs graft accused Thomas

Beleaguered Central Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas Thursday got the backing of one of his predecessors N Vittal, who said he will come out clean after the Supreme Court judgement.

Updated: Dec 09, 2010, 16:56 PM IST

New Delhi: Beleaguered Central Vigilance
Commissioner P J Thomas Thursday got the backing of one of his predecessors N Vittal, who said he will come out clean after the Supreme Court judgement.

"Integrity is not at all an issue. Thomas has an excellent
record. He has been cleared for empanelment to the Government
of India...So an officer, who has a record and has come
through the whole selection. I think it will be largely wrong
to cast any aspersions on the integrity or the personality of
Thomas.

"The whole question is about selection process and
perception about the CVC. The matter is before the court. I am
optimistic and, as a 72-year-old man, I am confident that as
Sita came out of agnipariksha, the institute of the CVC will
emerge stronger," Vittal told reporters here.

Vittal, who was the first chief of the anti-corruption
watchdog, objected to the use of word `tainted` for Thomas in
the media.

"The use of word tainted (for CVC) is wrong. The whole
issue is before the court and we need to wait for its
decision. It is all about perception on whatever discussion is
on in media.

"Today discussion is all about propriety. The issue of
propriety needs to be taken final position as per the rule of
law," he said on the sidelines of a seminar here.

60-year-old Thomas was selected as CVC by a three-member
panel of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, leader of Opposition
Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister P Chidambaram. Swaraj had
registered a dissent note on Thomas`s selection citing pending
criminal charges.

The CVC`s name figures in the chargesheet relating to
import of palmolein when he was serving in the Kerala
government.

The Supreme Court had also raised questions on Thomas`
ability to supervise the CBI investigations in the 2G spectrum
allocation case. Thomas has earlier served in the Telecom Ministry as Secretary.
"For example, the issue of integrity whether the Prime
Minister, Leader of opposition as well as the Home Minister
should discuss the selection. Should there be consultation
with the opposition leader or should there be a consent?

"Those two issues, I am sure will be clarified after the
Supreme Court`s decision. Once that judgement comes, I think
it will go to strengthen the institution of CVC and whatever
the current controversy is. It will be cleared," Vittal said.

Thomas refused to react to charges levelled against him.
"These things are subjudice. Whatever is subjudice, the
matter is before the court. I have no comments on that," he
said when asked to comment on the apex court`s observation and
opposition parties charges against him.

The Supreme Court will hear on January 27 a PIL seeking
his removal from the key post.

PTI