Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday said the appointment of PJ Thomas as chief vigilance commissioner (CVC) was made on the basis of documents received from the Kerala government and there was no question of "misleading anyone".
"Thomas was appointed on the basis of documents. There is no question of misleading anyone," Chavan said in his statement in the legislative assembly.
Chavan said that as union minister of state for personnel and training, he was not aware of any negative vigilance report or pending criminal case against Thomas before his appointment as the CVC.
He also said he had suggested three names for the post of CVC, two retired officers and one serving.
"Kerala government gave a letter on Dec 2, 2008. Three names were recommended, including that of Mr. Thomas," he said.
Chavan also pointed out that after the appointment of Thomas was challenged in the Supreme Court, he had sought Thomas' vigilance records and had found that the Central Vigilance Commission had cleared his name in a letter (dated June 25, 2007) to the Department of Personnel and Training.
Both houses of the Maharashtra legislature were adjourned for the day last Tuesday after the opposition created a ruckus over the appointment of Thomas as CVC and demanded Chavan's resignation for his role in the issue.
The issue was raked up by Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) leader of opposition Eknath Khadse who demanded a discussion on the matter, which was disallowed by assembly Speaker Dilip Valse-Patil.
Chavan was minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office at the time when Thomas's appointment as CVC was cleared.
Thomas is one of the accused in the Kerala palmolein scam of 1992, and is charged with causing a loss of Rs.2.32 crore to the exchequer by importing palm oil from Malaysia at an inflated price.