इंडियन आवाज़     05 Dec 2023 05:57:09      انڈین آواز

Wasn’t aware of case against Thomas: PM

Giving a suo motu statement in Rajya Sabha, Prime minister said that the notes for such committees are prepared “under the guidance of Minister of State in charge of the DoPT. “The honest answer is that the note which was prepared by the DoPT … did not contain this information about charge sheet,”he said

Chavan, who is now Maharashtra Chief Minister, was the MoS incharge of DoPT at the time of Thomas’ selection by the committee headed by the Prime Minister and comprising the Home Minister and Leader of the Opposition.

Explaining why he still gave his approval to Thomas’ name, Singh said, “since the gentleman was appointed Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala and that he was appointed as Secretary to two departments of the government of India, I thought vigilance matters must have been looked into and therefore we went ahead with the selection process.”

He said that P J Thomas as CVC, saying the note forwarded by him for the selection committee did not have information about corruption case against Thomas.

Responding to clarifications sought by Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley and Left members after his statement, Singh said, “Until I went to the meeting of the committee, I was not aware there was any such case of Palmolein and that would involve corruption.”

He said he became “aware of this case only when the honourable Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha (Sushma Swaraj) raised the issue in the meeting itself.”

Singh, who made such a statement on the CVC fiasco in the Lok Sabha Monday, reiterated that the selection was an “error of judgement” and he took full responsibility for it.

Left members were not satisfied with the reply and staged a walkout.

While responding to repeated queries from the Opposition, the Prime Minister said the note for appointment of Thomas came through “normal channels and came with the approval of the Minister of State, Department of Personnel”.

Jaitley said when the LoP in the Lok Sabha had pointed out in the High Powered Committee that CVC’s appointment be postponed, “why did the government come with pre-conceived” idea that “Thomas and only Thomas alone” was to be selected.

Why two other candidates with relatively cleaner image were overlooked in favour of one who has been chargesheeted, he asked.

He also wanted to know from Singh whether the Prime Minister or the Committee was informed about the pendency of charge sheet against one of the candidates. “Who was responsible,” he asked.

“Was it the DoPT, PMO or someone else,” Jaitley sought to know.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury asked “was there any pressure on the government?” If it was so, the House should be told so that it can be faced collectively. These issues must be answered publicly, he said.

D Raja (CPI) asked whether Singh was under some compulsion. PM must come out with more details and explain how he was “forced”.

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