Former CVC Vittal bats for Thomas

Thursday, December 9, 2010

NEW DELHI - Beleaguered Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) P.J. Thomas Thursday got the backing of one of his predecessors, N. Vittal, who said it would be wrong to question his integrity.

Referring to a petition challenging Thomas’ appointment as CVC pending before the Supreme Court, Vittal said all the issues would be clarified after the court’s decision.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar, Vittal said: “Thomas has an excellent record…As an officer, he holds a good record and has come through the whole selection (process). I think it will be wrong to cast any remark on the integrity or the personality of Thomas,” he said.

Thomas, 60, was the telecom secretary before he was appointed the CVC. After the apex court’s remarks against him, he withdrew himself from the ongoing probe into the allocation of 2G spectrum to mobile companies in 2008.

The opposition parties have been demanding Thomas’ resignation since he was named in a charge-sheet filed in 2000 over a palm oil import scandal in Kerala, where he served as a secretary.

Vittal said the controversy surrounding Thomas involved the selection process and the perceptions about the CVC.

The matter is before the court. I am optimistic and confident that…the institution of the CVC will emerge stronger after this whole issue, Vittal said.

Objecting the use of word “tainted” for Thomas, he said: The use of word tainted for the CVC is wrong. The issue is before the court and we need to wait for its decision.

I am sure all the issues will be clarified after the Supreme Court’s decision. Once that judgement comes, I think it will go to strengthen the institution of CVC, Vittal said.

Thomas refused to react to charges levelled against him. I cannot talk about the issue. The matter is sub-judice, and before the court. I have no comments on that, he said.

The next hearing in apex court on the petition seeking Thomas’ removal is Jan 27.

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