New Delhi: The Government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the issue of chargesheet against CVC PJ Thomas in a corruption case and sanction granted by Kerala government for his prosecution were not brought before the high-powered committee for selecting a candidate for the post.
This was stated by Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati before a bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia, which wanted to know if the issue of sanction and the chargesheet against Thomas was presented before the three-member committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“It was not before the committee. The material pertaining to the sanction for prosecution under section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code was not before the committee. The bio-data did not reflect this aspect before the committee,” the Attorney General said.
The response of Vahanvati came on a question from the bench whether the material relating to the chargesheet and sanction was presented before the committee.
“We are not going into the merits of the case. We want to know whether the material pertaining to chargesheet and the sanction were brought before the committee or not.
“We want to know whether relevant material were brought before the committee and whether these documents were brought were before it,” the bench also comprising KS Radhakrishnan and Swantanter Kumar said.
The bench told counsel Prashant Bhushan, who is representing petitioner NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, which has moved the court questioning the legality of the CVC’s appointment, that while the Attorney General has answered its questions, he will have to now give his arguments on the selection issue.
“Now the AG has said. You tell us whether this vitiates the process for selection,” the bench said.
Bhushan questioned the stand of the government on the issue of sanction, saying, “How will Thomas function as CVC when a sword is hanging over his head?”
The bench said it would also like to go into the files relating to his appointment. The Attorney General in turn said that all the four files will be placed before the court.
Bhushan had said that the files pertaining to the charge sheet against Thomas in a corruption case was not placed before the three-member panel which also included Home Minister P Chidambaram and the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. The name of Thomas was opposed by Swaraj.
The CPIL and others have challenged Thomas’ appointment as CVC, contending that he was considered for the crucial post despite objection from the Leader of the Opposition.
The petitioners have sought the court’s direction to declare Thomas’ appointment as illegal contending that there was violation of Section 4 of the CVC Act as the Prime Minister and the Home Minister insisted upon his name despite objection by the Leader of the Opposition, which shows the government had decided in advance to appoint him.
The PIL has said Thomas could not be appointed as CVC on account of “conflict of interest” as till recently he was serving as the Secretary in Telecom Ministry and there was an allegation that he was involved in the “cover-up” of the 2G spectrum scam, which, according to the petitioner, had caused a huge loss to the state exchequer.