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BJP says Govt's CVC claim 'patent lie', wants PM to reply

PTI  New Delhi, January 27, 2011
First Published: 16:06 IST(27/1/2011) | Last Updated: 21:34 IST(27/1/2011)

BJP on Thursday slammed the Government for claiming in the Supreme Court that the committee, which chose P J Thomas as the CVC last year, was not aware of corruption charges against him, and sought an answer from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the "patent lie".

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Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, who was a member of the Committee headed by the Prime Minister and had opposed Thomas' selection in writing, said she would file an affidavit in the Supreme Court to "set the record straight".

Swaraj said she had personally brought to the notice of the Prime Minister and home minister P Chidambaram, the other two members of the selection panel, the "fact" about charges of corruption against Thomas in two-decade-old Palmolein import case in Kerala but they had "persisted" with his appointment.

"It is not at all true. It is a mis-statement... The government is speaking one untruth after another untruth," the BJP leader told reporters here.

"There is one falsehood after another falsehood, one baseless statement after another baseless statement," said Swaraj, who had put on record her dissent to Thomas' choice.

She was reacting to the affidavit filed by Attorney General G E Vahanvati in the Supreme Court on Thursday that the panel was not aware of the charges in the Palmolein import case pending against him in Kerala.

After her dissent was over-rurled, Swaraj had met President Pratibha Patil to seek her intervention to stop the "scandalous" appointment. The main opposition party had also boycotted the CVC's swearing-in ceremony on September 7 as a mark of protest.

"I have always stayed away from judicial proceedings so far but now I have decided to file my affidavit before the Supreme court to state the fact," she said.

She said her main obection to Thomas' selection was that there was chargesheet against him in a corruption case and sanction was granted by Kerala government for his prosecution.

Contending that the government's claim was a "patent lie" aimed at "misleading" the court, party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said the BJP seeks clarifications from the Prime Minister on the issue in the wake of the AG's affidavit.

"This is a scam which reaches straight to the Prime Minister's door. There is no alibi as in the case of A Raja and Suresh Kalmadi," Prasad told reporters.

"The most scandalous scams take place right under your seat. And you preside over an empire of scandals and corruption. You want to say you don't know?" Prasad said.

Prasad described the government stand in the Supreme Court on P J Thomas as "strange".

He insisted that Swaraj had informed the selection panel, comprising of the Prime Minister, Chidambaram and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, that prosecution was pending against Thomas in the Palmolien import case.

"She had also said that an extra day be taken to inquire about Thomas. Yet the government insisted on his name. We ask the Prime Minister to clarify when and how did he come to know about the prosecution case against Thomas," Prasad said.

"She will file an affidavit to set the record straight about the patent lie spoken in the Supreme Court," he added.

BJP maintained that Thomas was deliberately chosen as the government was facing several corruption cases.

"We feel that because of the surrounding suspicious circumstances relating to his appointment and the government of India's patent falsehood as explained today. Dr Manmohan Singh government deliberately wanted to pliant officer as the CVC," Prasad said.

In the panel meeting, Swaraj had asserted that her main obection to Thomas' appointment was that there was a chargesheet against him in a corruption case and sanction was granted by Kerala government for his prosecution.

An NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, and others had challenged Thomas' appointment as the CVC, citing the Pamolein import corruption case in which the top ranking official is an accused.


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