Today, Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India announced that he takes full responsibility for the decision of CVC, which has been termed unlawful by the Supreme Court of India. Sound good. So… what now? Rarely in history, since Bhishma Pitamah’s disastrous role in Mahabharat, has anyone combined a Look of Wisdom and Leadership Out of Pity into such a stellar combination. This Prime Minister commits mistakes that somehow do not suit his portrayed image and then comes up with a pitiful face and demeanour to do the “whatever the law says as an Indian citizen”. Let us take an example.
In 1999 election, incidentally, the only election that Dr. Manmohan Singh has fought, he told people in Tilak Nagar that Anti-Sikh Massacres were the deed of the RSS, a Hindu Organization. He repeated this charge once more later in his career. That it was a lie is obvious, but the worse was it showed an amazing lack of integrity for a person who was to head a Government by a party, who was the perpetrator. Not just that, he even installed, one of the main accused, Jagdish Tytler as a Union Minister in his cabinet. Not until the Nanavati Commission had indicted Tytler, did Dr. Singh ask him to leave. As we were to know, he was being respectful of the feelings of the Sikhs. Yes, like every ordinary citizen. Really?
Now, he wants to respect Supreme Court after it has given its verdict on CVC and the public is aghast – which this lunatic group called “public” does (for a few moments, perhaps) when they are reminded they have just been raped of their rights – that Dr. Singh is suddenly all pitiful and sorry. Just a month back he was advising the Supreme Court to “mind its own business”, when he told them that ‘Power of review should not be used to erode authority’. Dr. Singh was obviously not happy that the law was not particularly excited about his pusillanimity.
If, the Supreme Court, had backed down or if the Congress leaders had frightened the judges enough, and they had let CVC issue go away quietly, then one is left wondering if this Wise Guy-Pitious Leader called Dr. Singh would have felt he had violated the law or its spirit? If piety is a function of punishment, then it isn’t what its billed to be on the label.
Why is the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) important?
One may wonder why is this appointment so important? So important that the Congress party and the UPA Government risked so much on it? It is the…
governmental body created in 1964 to address governmental corruption. It has the status of an autonomous body, free of control from any executive authority, charged with monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government of India, and advising various authorities in central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.
With the scandals rampantly going on in the Rule of Plunder under the UPA Government, headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh, CVC happens to be an important cog. You take out the guy who would indict the Government for corruption, and you have made your life of loot rather easy!
60-year-old PJ Thomas, is a 1973 batch Kerala cadre IAS officer, who began his career as the Fort Kochi sub-collector. Interestingly, he took over as the Telecom Secretary in October 2009. And in 2010, was appointed CVC on September 7 by a three-member panel consisting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidamabaram and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. Sushma Swaraj dissented to the appointment.
What a farce we have at our hand. The biggest and most important corruption scandal hitting the Government of the day is the Telecom 2G Scam. And during the time this scandal was being perpetrated, the Telecom Secretary was PJ Thomas. And he was appointed – forcibly, despite dissent – as the Chief Vigilante to.. yes, probe into the same scam! And, it took the Supreme Court to point out the obvious
The Supreme Court on Tuesday embarrassed the government by questioning the tenability of Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) P J Thomas supervising the CBI’s investigations into the 2G spectrum scandal as he himself was the telecom secretary at the time of 2G spectrum allocation.!
And who was pushing through the appointment? Dr. Manmohan Singh and his smart friend Chidambaram. Now, the PM is sorry and will “accept” – like a good boy – the slap on his hand. If this guy had had his way, he wouldn’t have let Supreme Court squeek much though!
This is of course not the first time, this epitome of integrity has been at the center of scams. He was involved in the Palmolein Import case when he was the Secretary of Food and Civil Supplies.
Kerala government decided to import palm oil from the Malaysian company in Singapore named Power and Energy Ltd above the international price which was approved by the Kerala Cabinet . The price of import was fixed to $ 405.0 per ton which was higher than the international price of $ 392.25 per ton. The import order was signed by Thomas, who was then Kerala’s Food Secretary. The investigation agency’s charge sheet in the case says that this order caused a loss of more than 2.32 cores to the exchequer. The decision was to import 15,000 tonnes of palm oil.
A case was filed against Karunakaran and others including PJ Thomas. Thomas however got a bail and later his case was stayed. Karunakaran died in December 2010 and in January, Supreme Court opened the case against PJ Thomas again.
But the Court today took note of the fact that since Karunakaran died last month, his appeal has become invalid.
This now means that Thomas, the country’s top vigilance officer, will face trial for his role in the import of Palmolein oil by the Kerala government in 1991-92 that incurred a huge loss. Now, charges will be framed by the Vigilance Court at Trivandrum.
…. and Obfuscation as Defense
Sushma Swaraj, the member of the committee to appoint the CVC said that she was told by Chidambaram that PJ Thomas had been acquitted of the Palmolein case. The Home Minister reacted pretty sharply. Here is the exchange:
“It was me who brought this to the notice of the committee, who at that time said that Thomas was acquited in the Palmolein case. What the minister is saying now are all his afterthoughts and absolutely irrelevant,” she added. In a statement issued here, Chidambaram earlier today said: “I take exception to the statement by Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, that I had ‘misled the Selection Committee’ and told the Committee that PJ Thomas had been ‘acquitted’. Actually, Swaraj is tying herself in knots by making thoughtless allegations.”
“Firstly, if no sanction for prosecution had been granted since 1999 against P.J. Thomas (as admitted by her) how could the case have proceeded to trial or ended in an acquittal of Shri Thomas? Secondly, if the Supreme Court had stayed the trial of the case (as admitted by her), is it not self-evident that the case was pending and nobody could have been either acquitted or convicted?,” he said.
He further reiterated that the Committee was aware of the Palmolein case; that no sanction for prosecution of Thomas had been granted since 1999.
This was in February of 2011, where the Home Minister is suggesting that in September 2010, the members of the committee – that is he, the PM and Sushma Swaraj, – weren’t misled. But the highest Legal officer of the Government, Attorney General G E Vahanvati stated just a few days before him that Government was “unaware of cases against Thomas”.
The Government today told the Supreme Court that they were not aware of the cases pending against controversial Central Vigilance Commissioner PJ Thomas.
This was stated by Attorney General G E Vahanvati before a bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, which wanted to know if the issue of sanction and the charge sheet against Thomas was presented before the three-member committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh selected him for the assignment.
“It was not before the committee. The material pertaining to the sanction for prosecution under section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was not before the committee,” Vahanvati said. The response of Attorney General came on a question from the bench whether the material relating to the charge sheet and sanction was presented before the committee.
As the Attorney General said LOUD and CLEAR, that the Material was not placed before the committee, thus vindicating Sushma Swaraj.
So, guys, can you get your act together?
Now, in March, the Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatantar Kumar – said that the recommendation made by the Prime Minister’s high-powered committee to appoint Thomas did not consider the relevant material (case against him) and as such its advice “does not exist in law”.
What was the counter from the Government? Thomas was a man of ‘impeccable integrity’, but a victim of political vendetta. Yeah Right! If you have a knack of being in all the places simmering with scams, maybe you have some supernatural issue that you need to take care of, before you become the point man to investigate corruption. I think though that the reason has more to do with deceiving claims as opposed to any supernatural conspiracy. Looks, of Wisdom.. of Gentlemanliness.. of Integrity as we know by now are a bit over-rated. Look at Dr. Manmohan Singh for example.