SC evicts Thomas as CVC,shames govt
The Manmohan Singh government,which is already reeling under multiple scams from 2G to Commonwealth Gameswas on Thursday dealt a body-blow when the Supreme Court struck down the Prime Minister and home minister P C Chidambarams decision to appoint P J Thomas as central vigilance commissioner.
In one of the most significant judgments delivered by any Indian court in recallable memory,Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sarosh Kapadia,while reading out the relevant portions of the 71-page ruling before a packed courtroom,faulted the high-powered selection committee (HPC) for not considering the pending chargesheet against Thomas in a corruption case related to the import of palm oil while he was food and civil supplies secretary in Kerala.Singh and Chidambaram had,on September 3,2010,overruled Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj by a majority vote in favour of having Thomas as CVC.
In a stunning climax to a months-long legal and political drama,Justice Kapadias booming voice rang out to declare that the HPCs selection of Thomas was non-est in law ( non-est is something that does not exist) and,consequently,the appointment of P J Thomas as chief vigilance commissioner is quashed.
A Bench comprising the CJI and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar said if the selection of a candidate as CVC adversely affected the institutional competency and functioning of CVC,it was the duty of the committee not to recommend such a candidate.The court said Thomas’ continuance as CVC would seriously dent the image and stature of the anticorruption watchdog.
What the hell is going on: SC on Hasan Ali
What the hell is going on in this country, the Supreme Court remarked on Thursday as it expressed annoyance with the lack of governments seriousness in bringing to book alleged black money offenders like Hasan Ali Khan and asked for his arrest.
A Bench comprising Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar warned the government that it would be forced to monitor investigations into black money if the authorities kept viewing it as a tax evasion issue and failed to pursue the source of the illegal money stashed abroad.
Solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam assured the court that the government was pursuing the source behind black money and was ready to make public the names of persons who held accounts in Leichtensteins LGT Bank once the prosecution started against them.
The Bench pressed on,asking why Khan could not be taken into custody for interrogation,and whether the government would like the custodial interrogation under the courts supervision.
The courts anger boiled over when petitioner Ram Jethmalanis counsel Anil Divan said that not only had Khan not been interrogated in custody of the authorities,but some of the Enforcement Directorate officials who were on his case were either shunted out or victimized.It told the Centre to restore the persons you have relieved.
Govt not acting under pressure
A SC Bench warned the government that it would be forced to monitor probe into black money if authorities kept viewing it as a tax evasion issue and failed to pursue the source of the illegal money stashed abroad.
You (ED) know about his arms deals,smuggling cases and his other connections and still you allow him to come on another day.Whose convenience is sought to be seen We want a simple answer why is there not a custodial interrogation (of Khan) when the nations integrity and sovereignty is at stake. Solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam denied that the government was acting under any pressure.He said,There is nobody on the other side.We have a duty to discharge and we must be given an opportunity to complete our investigations.
The Bench allowed the Union government to respond to its queries by Tuesday,but wanted to know whether the Centre was open to the suggestion to have custodial interrogation under monitoring by the court.
Sources : TOI