Says continuation of prosecution in palmolein case meant to target Karunakaran and not himself
Central Vigilance Commissioner P.J. Thomas has asserted in the Supreme Court that his appointment as the CVC was in conformity with the scheme of the CVC Act and the continuation of the prosecution in the palmolein import case was meant to target the late Kerala Chief Minister, K. Karunakaran, and not himself.
In his response to the petition filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation questioning his appointment, Mr. Thomas said “a grave injustice is being done to an officer who has maintained the highest standards of integrity and has unfortunately been dragged into a controversy between two political leaders [Karunakaran and present Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan], which has subjected him to severe attacks on his honesty and reputation.”
He has objected to the use of the words ‘dishonest', ‘dubious', and ‘suspect' against him when referring to his integrity when there had been no such finding or assertion by a single judicial or administrative authority.
He pointed out that when the then Kerala government sought sanction for his prosecution from the Central government, sanction was not given and so the prosecution could not proceed. Again when the State government wanted to proceed with the prosecution by withdrawing its earlier G.O. and sought sanction, the Centre asked for reasons from the State government. Since reasons were not forthcoming no sanction was given by the Centre. It must be noted that the Left Democratic Front appointed him as the Chief Secretary on September 18, 2007 which would show that the continuation of prosecution was meant to target Karunakaran and not himself.
Mr. Thomas said the Central Vigilance Commission had in June 2007 considered the facts and circumstances of the Palmolein case and found that no case was made out either against him or against another IAS officer Jiji Thomson in palmolein import. The CVC had advised that the case be dropped against them.
Thereafter his name was sent for empanelment for being appointed to the Central Services and the Central government cleared his appointment in October 2008 and he was appointed Secretary, Parliamentary Affairs in January 2009 and then as Secretary, Communications in October 2009.
On his role in the 2G spectrum issue, he said he was appointed Secretary, Communications several months after the allocation of the 2G spectrum and he only had a limited role in forwarding the request of the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, to the Union Law Minister and the opinion of the Law Ministry was received only after he was sworn in as the CVC on September 7, 2010.
He said, “It is tragic that after a career of honest service for 37 long years, the deponent's appointment to his present post has invited the ignominy of being targeted in such merciless fashion. At least now, being in receipt of clearances, the deponent is in a position to seek quashing of the prosecution launched against him and be able to establish his innocence.”