PJ Thomas, whose appointment as the head of the Central Vigilance Commission kicked of a political storm and has been questioned by the Supreme Court, was cleared twice by the anti-corruption watchdog, CVC, for promotion and continuation in service.
Thomas, a 1973-batch IAS officer of the Kerala cadre, got clearances from the CVC in 2004 and 2007, following references by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), official documents show.
In 2004, the CVC, in response to a DoPT query if any case was made out against IAS officers PJ Thomas and J Thomson for their alleged role in the palmolein import scam of 1991 in Kerala, replied in the negative.
“No case is made out against the two IAS officers to proceed against them under the Prevention of Corruption Act,” the CVC said in a letter dated June 3, 2004.
Following this, the then Congress-led United Democratic Front government of Kerala moved the Supreme Court in 2005, seeking permission to withdraw the case. The top court of the country allowed the state government in April 2006 to do so, but before formalities could be completed the UDF lost the election and the CPI(M)-led LDF that came to power kept the case alive.
The LDF government filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court, saying it wanted to pursue the case. The apex court referred the matter back to the trial court, against which former chief minister K Karunakaran moved the SC again, which stayed proceedings in the case, that continues till date.
In the changed scenario, the DoPT again referred the matter of Thomas and Thomson to the CVC in June 2007. The anti-corruption watchdog once again ruled that “there was no merit in the case which warrants the prosecution of the two officers”.
The DoPT, sought the CVC clearance again in 2008, for promotion and empanelment of Thomas as a secretary in the government of India. In its reply, the CVC stated :“The commission has accorded clearance to all officers except Parminder Singh...” Thomas was then appointed secretary in parliamentary affairs ministry in 2009. He became secretary in the department of telecom in September 2009, and was appointed the Chief Vigilance Commissioner on September 7.