It seems the government has prepared a list of some 28 names for Central Vigilance Commissioner, which post has been lying vacant ever since the appointment of P.J. Thomas was held invalid by the Supreme Court.
It is learnt that the selection committee could meet as early as next week.
Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj was approached by Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy a couple of days ago to ask for a convenient date in the coming week. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Ms. Swaraj constitute the committee.
It seems, for the first time, the list includes names that are not from the IAS cadre although the large majority — about 20 of the 28 — are serving or retired IAS officers. The Supreme Court, while laying down guidelines for the CVC appointment, said there was no reason why non-IAS candidates should not be considered.
The list may be pruned before it is placed before the selection committee.
G.K. Pillai on list
Among those included on the list are Home Secretary G.K. Pillai, although he has publicly stated he is not interested in this job; Alka Sirohi, Secretary, Personnel; Bijoy Chatterjee, former Secretary, Chemicals and Fertilizers, who figured among the three names considered when the selection committee met in September last; and interestingly, Shantanu Consul, former Secretary, Personnel, who has served on the Shunglu Committee that looked at corruption in implementation of Commonwealth Games projects.
At the September meeting, Ms. Swaraj gave a dissent note opposing the appointment of Mr. Thomas — the name approved by the Prime Minister and the Home Minister from the panel of three.
The appointment was later challenged and held invalid by the court, forcing Mr. Thomas to step down.
At a time when the Opposition is waging a full-scale political battle on corruption and there is no agreement on the drafting committee for a Lokpal Bill, the filling of the CVC post is seen as an urgent necessity for the government. It seems the government is keen on filling the post before the start of the monsoon session of Parliament next month.