The Supreme Court was told Thursday that the high-powered committee for the selection of central vigilance commissioner (CVC) was not informed about a pending chargesheet against P.J. Thomas and the sanction granted by the Kerala government to prosecute him in the palm oil import case.
The high-powered selection committee comprises Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
The selection committee, by a majority, disregarded Swaraj’s objection and had selected Thomas as CVC.
Attorney General G. Vahanvati told the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia: ‘The fact of the pending case (of P.J. Thomas) was not placed before the selection committee. All that was needed to place before the selection committee was the biodata of the empanelled officer.’
At this the court asked: ‘What is the consequence of the selection committee not being made known the relevant facts (about P.J. Thomas).’
The apex court said that before going into the merit of the case, it wanted to know if correct procedure was followed in the selection of CVC.
The court asked how many people were there in the zone of selection for the CVC; what was the criteria of shortlisting such officers, if there were only three officers; and if there were more, then on what grounds they were eliminated.
The court also wanted to know if other two officers on the panel suffered from any infirmity as was the case with P.J. Thomas and why he alone was preferred for selection as CVC.