New Delhi: The crucial hearing on the
controversial appointment of Central Vigilance Commissioner
P J Thomas, who is an accused in a criminal case in Kerala,
will come up in the Supreme Court on Monday.
A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia, Justices K S
Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar will hear a Public Interest
Litigation (PIL) challenging Thomas`s appointment to the
Speculation is rife that Thomas may step down from his
post ahead of the Court hearing.
Thomas faced stinging observation from the apex
court on his capacity as CVC chief to oversee CBI
investigations in the 2G spectrum allocation scam in view of
his name figuring in the Palmolein import scam in Kerala.
Thomas, till recently Secretary in the Union Telecom
Ministry which is at the centre of the 2G scam, was appointed
CVC on September 7 this year by a three-member panel
consisting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister
P Chidambaram and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
Sushma Swaraj. The senior BJP leader however opposed the
appointment and gave a dissenting note.
In the previous hearings, the UPA government had to
face embarrassment after the Apex Court had raised a series of
questions relating to his appointment as CVC.
The bench which sought the file pertaining to the
appointment of Thomas had observed "Without looking into the
file, we are concerned that if a person is an accused in a
criminal case how will he function as CVC."
"We will sit together and go through the file", it had
"Under the service jurisprudence, a person cannot even
be considered for promotions when a chargesheet is pending
against him," the bench said.
"At this stage as a chargesheet is pending against
him since 2000, he is not even considered to be promoted. We
are only suggesting whether he will be able to function as
CVC. He himself will be an embarrassment," it said.
The two PILs--one filed by an NGO Centre for Public
Interest Litigation and other by the former CEC--had
contended that Thomas was considered for the crucial post
despite objection from the Leader of the Opposition who was
part of a high-power committee for the appointment of CVC.
The petitioners had contended that Thomas could not be
considered as a person of "impeccable integrity" as he was
chargesheeted in the Palmoleine import scam when he was
Kerala`s Secretary in the state Ministry of Food and Civil
Supplies and had secured bail from the local court.
The PILs said he also could not be appointed as CVC on
account of "conflict of interest" as till recently he was
serving as the Secretary in Telecom Ministry and there was
allegation that he was involved in the cover-up of the 2G
spectrum scam, which, according to the petitioners, has caused
a loss of Rs 70,000 to the state exchequer.