New Delhi: A day after the Supreme Court questioned his tenability as Chief Vigilance Commissioner; the Centre on Wednesday filed an affidavit in the apex court saying that PJ Thomas will not oversee the probe into the irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum.
"In accordance with the highest tradition, Thomas has
offered to recuse himself from the matter," Solicitor General
Gopal Subramanium told a bench comprising justices G S
Singhvi and A K Ganguly which had yesterday questioned Thomas
supervising the CBI which is probing the scam.
The court had raised questions that Thomas was the
Telecom Secretary at the relevant time.
60-year-old Thomas, who was Telecom Secretary till
recently, was appointed to the CVC`s post – barely three months ago -by a three-member
panel headed by Prime Minister but not before the Leader
of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, gave a
Yesterday, the bench had raised questions on
Thomas` ability to supervise the CBI investigations in the 2G
case, saying that it would be difficult for Thomas to objectively monitor
"CBI is functioning under the CVC, at that time
he (Thomas) was functioning as Telecom Secretary. It would be
difficult for him to objectively monitor."
"He had justified the actions which are being subject
to scrutiny by this court and CBI. It would be difficult for
him to objectively supervise." the bench observed.
Thomas` name also figures in the chargesheet relating to import of
palmolein during his stint in the Kerala government.
I am still the CVC
Meanwhile, in his first ever interaction with the press after the whole controversy broke out, Thomas appeared to be on the defensive yet defiant. On a question whether there was any truth in the reports that he is quitting his post, he said, “I am still the CVC and I am continuing my work as CVC. If there’s anything more, I will let you know.”
On being asked about the old criminal cases pending against him – pointed out also by a SC bench headed by the Chief Justice in India -, he tried to water it down by saying that there is no controversy.
He agreed that some old case is there against him but was also quick to point out that SC has put a stay on it and as it is a judicial matters law will take its own course.
Thomas evaded questions on the need to take moral responsibility in view of the strictures from the court, by saying that the government had, after going through all, had appointed him.
As expected, the BJP has come out strongly against the Centre’s new position on the case by opining that how can the CVC be kept out of the investigations as he was the head of the nation’s anti-corruption watchdog.
The party has reiterated its demand that he be sacked immediately.