Chief Vigilance Commissioner(CVC) PJ Thomas said on Tuesday that the nine officers, empanelled for appointment as secretaries in 2008, including him, had complaints or chargesheets pending against them when being considered for elevation.
In his additional affidavit, Thomas stated if he was deemed fit to be Secretary to the Government of India after getting vigilance clearance, he was also “deemed to be a person of impeccable integrity to hold the present post of CVC”.
Justifying his action of not having placed documents related to the corruption case against him before the high-powered panel headed by the Prime Minister that selected him as CVC, Thomas said it was not relevant as “all the names on the shortlist were of Secretaries to the Government of India, who, by virtue of their process of selection as Secretaries, are deemed automatically to be of impeccable integrity.”
Thomas has defended his appointment and clarified that his elevation was after the Centre considered the Kerala government’s letter informing it about its decision to take back the notification ordering withdrawal of the corruption case against him. The issue was not held against him as the event was nearly one-and-a-half decades old. He also said it was “routine for officers” to have cases slapped against them. Many of them, he added, are politically motivated.
Objecting to media reports branding him as a “tainted official”, Thomas said: “In an environment where a bureaucrat bears the brunt of protests against governmental action, it is necessary that an objective view be taken of how we officers function.”
Thomas also replied to a specific court query whether he was suitable for being appointed as the CVC since he did not have any experience in investigation. He stated: “Without prejudice to the above, I would say that IAS officers would not normally have direct experience of investigation and vigilance, except in a supervisory role.”
Thomas’s appointment as CVC has been challenged in view of a chargesheet against him in a palmolein oil scam case.