Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan denied that he misled anyone while recommending bureaucrat PJ Thomas’s name for the chief vigilance commissioner’s (CVC) post.
Following the Opposition’s incessant demand, Chavan made a statement in the state legislature on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently told the Parliament that Chavan, the then union minister of state for personnel, had recommended Thomas among others.
The PM had made the statement after the Supreme Court scrapped the CVC’s appointment on the grounds that he faced corruption charges.
Sushma Swaraj, Opposition leader in the Lok Sabha, who was a member of the appointment committee, had opposed Thomas's appointment.
Singh and home minister P Chidambaram were the other two members on the three-member committee..
Chavan said the papers submitted to him did not have any reference to adverse vigilance status or pending case against Thomas. “I, therefore, approved the file and the agenda of the meeting for selection of the CVC,” he said.
“After due deliberations, I had shortlisted three names for submission to the three-member committee. After the Supreme Court took up the subject, I found that the Central Vigilance Commission had given Thomas a clean chit (in corruption cases).”
Chavan said since Thomas was made the chief secretary of Kerala and was later appointed as secretary to the union government, he had no reason to believe that his vigilance status was in doubt.
Opposition leader in the assembly, Eknath Khadse, pointed out that the Kerala chief minister had dismissed Chavan’s claim. “We have a copy of the letter that said Thomas faced corruption charges and inquiry was pending against him.”
Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil did not allow the discussion to continue even as the Opposition created noise over the matter.