‘Vigilance nod no test of integrity’
The day after former Central Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha revealed that the pending chargesheet against PJ Thomas had not been brought on record in 2007, commission officials insisted that too much was being made of Thomas’ vigilance clearance.
“A vigilance clearance is not a certificate of integrity…. Even Siddharth Behura (former telecom secretary behind bars in 2 G spectrum case) had one,” a commission official told HT.
The CVC had recommended dropping charges against Thomas in 2007 and cleared him for empanelment in 2008. The government had flaunted the CVC clearance to defend its selection of Thomas as the CVC.
“The CVC clearance is given on the basis of the information provided by the department of personnel and training and inputs from the CBI and the CVC’s database,” the commission official said, emphasising that the commission had to operate within the policy framework spelt out by the government.
“If the government tomorrow says officers convicted of corruption should be given this clearance, the CVC will have to give its recommendation within this framework till a court strikes it down,” he added.
Under existing rules, for instance, an officer under investigation for corruption can get the clearance if the inquiry takes more than three months.
“Vigilance clearance is given for a specific post or specific empanelment and is not a general kind of a vigilance clearance,” Thomas’ predecessor at CVC, Pratyush Sinha said.
Sinha broke his silence on Thomas’ appointment when he said records forwarded to the commission did not reflect existence of a live chargesheet in Kerala. Thomas may not have got the commission’s approval if this information was available.