Saturday, February 5, 2011

All Officers shortlisted for CVC tainted- Who heads dishonesty?

CVC drags Govt deeper
February 03, 2011 11:57:16 AM
Abraham Thomas | New Delhi
Reveals that all 9 officers shortlisted for CVC’s post were tainted

Raising a serious question mark over the procedures followed by the Centre in the empanelment of IAS officers from States, CVC PJ Thomas on Tuesday revealed that all the nine officers who were empanelled with the Centre in 2008 — including him — were chargesheeted or had complaints pending against them. Singling him out as a “unique case” was not proper, he pointed out.

The charge made by Thomas in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court has put a question mark on the whole empanelment process which allows any officer to move from States to the Centre and occupy an important position in the Union Government.

The Government had claimed that while empanelling Thomas as Central Government officer in 2008, CVC clearance was obtained and this was held out to be a certificate of his “impeccable integrity”.

The disclosure comes ahead of the Thursday hearing in the Supreme Court when the court is to take a final call on the suitability of Thomas to continue as CVC in view of a pending charge-sheet against him in the palmolein import scam, which dates back to 1991-92 during his tenure as Food Secretary with the Kerala Government.

In his affidavit, Thomas said, “Virtually every single officer in the zone of consideration (for empanelment at Centre) had complaints or chargesheets pending.” Besides him, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) prepared note with regard to eight other officers, who had far more serious charges of corruption, misappropriation and embezzlement listed against them. Except one, all other officers got cleared.

Relying on the data collected from the Department of Personnel and Training, Thomas said, “An impression has been created that my case is a unique one, and that I alone suffer some taint against my name. Clearly, it is routine for officers in the discharge of their duties to have cases slapped against them, many of which are trumped up or politically motivated.”

Defending others of his like who were chargesheeted, the affidavit added, “In an environment where a bureaucrat bears the brunt of protests against governmental action, it is necessary that an objective view be taken of how we officers function.”

But a look at the charges leveled against the officers defies all imagination of how these could be politically motivated. One of the cleared officers BR Kundal has been chargesheeted for misappropriation of sale proceeds of essential commodities. VS Dhumal, another officer whom CVC cleared, faces a complaint of immovable property acquired disproportionate to known sources of his income.

Tejinder Kaur is a unique case who got clearance despite Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recommending action for transfer of 15 acres of Government land to a cricket association, a matter which is sub-judice. There is also one Ashok Kumar, who got cleared despite a complaint pending against him of misuse of office and corrupt practices. Also, one Brajebeharaj Mahapatra survived the CVC scrutiny in the face of a chargesheet regarding wrongly claiming reimbursements and penalty of reduction to lower scale of pay imposed. There is a separate complaint of corruption pending against him in which the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has recommended punishment.

Aware of the Centre’s stand in trying to distance itself from the controversy and the subsequent pressure on him to resign, Thomas stood his ground in the affidavit highlighting his merits --- being the senior-most among the serving cadre of Secretaries, and holding experience in administration, vigilance and policy making posts. Making out a case that the palmolein “taint” against him was political, Thomas said, “I have been held out to the public as a tainted officials. This is rather tragic as my record during 37 years of service has been without blemish.”

Tainted Thomas
•Singling him out as a ‘unique case’ not proper, says Thomas
•Allegations could be politically motivated, he submits in court
•Thomas lists his merits as ‘senior-most among the serving Secretaries, and holding experience in administration, vigilance and policy-making’
•Another empanelled member, Tejinder Kaur, got clearance despite CBI recommending action for transfer of 15-acre Govt land, he says
•Brajebeharaj, who had also been empanelled, survived CBI scrutiny despite being indicted by UPSC
•The disclosure comes ahead of the Thursday hearing in the Supreme Court when the court is to take a final call
CVC drags Govt deeper

Corruption disgraces India: PM
New Delhi: Corruption dents India's image, hampers good governance and needs to be tackled "boldly and quickly", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Friday.
"Corruption strikes at the roots of good governance. It is an impediment to faster growth. It dilutes, if not negates, our efforts at social inclusion," Manmohan Singh said, two days after former communications minister A. Raja was arrested for his suspected role in the 2G spectrum scam, billed as the country's biggest to date.
"It dents our international image and it demeans us before our own people," the prime minister said, addressing the second annual conference of chief secretaries of states here.
He said the challenge of corruption needed to "be faced frontally, boldly and quickly".
Corruption dents India's image, tackle it boldly- Read more

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