New Delhi: Controversial CVC P J Thomas on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that he was a man of "impeccable integrity" and had fulfilled all criteria for appointment to the post after being selected as Secretary in the Government.
He said among the shortlisted bureaucrats, he was the senior-most and only person who had served as Chief Secretary, besides having got clearance from the Central Vigilance Commission to be considered for empanelment for appointment as CVC as there was no sanction for his prosecution in the Palmolein import case.
Thomas said the question relating to the documents relating to the corruption case not being circulated before the panel headed by the Prime Minister had no relevance in the backdrop of the selection process adopted for the appointment of CVC.
"I also must state that the inquiry about the documents being placed before the three-member committee may not be relevant in the light of the fact that all the names on the shortlist were of secretaries to the government, who, by virtue of their process of selection as secretaries, are deemed to be of impeccable integrity," he said in his affidavit.
He said, "It is assumed that by virtue of being secretaries to the Union government where they would have held very sensitive information in ministries like Home, External Affairs, Finance and Law & Justice, they would be fit to handle responsibilities as chairmen of tribunals.
"It can hardly be contended that I am deemed fit to be Secretary to the Government (as I had been empanelled) but not to hold my present post (CVC)," Thomas said in the 12-page affidavit settled by senior advocate K K Venugopal.
He said when names are considered for empanelment as secretaries, vigilance clearances are sought.
In his case, he said, vigilance clearance about him and eight others from the 1972 and 1973 batches of IAS officers was sought.
"There were nine officers who were in the zone of considerations for the post," he said and mentioned the names of the bureaucrats who were cleared for the empanelment.
He said, "Virtually every single officer in the zone of consideration had complaints or charge sheets pending against them but it is the CVC that looks into the entire material and decides whether clearance ought to be granted or not.
"An impression has been created that my case is a unique one and that I alone suffer some taint against my name. Clearly, it is routine for the officers in discharge of their duties to have cases slapped against them, many of which are trumped-up or politically motivated," said Thomas.
He said, "In an environment where bureaucrats bear the burnt of protests against the governmental actions, it is necessary that an objective view be taken of how the officers function."