Protests "thoughtless" allegation that he misled panel
The ongoing war of words on the controversy surrounding the appointment of P.J. Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner saw political temperatures rising further with Home Minister P Chidambaram denying the allegation of Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj that he misled the CVC selection committee.
Mr. Chidambaram took strong exception to her statement that he had misled the misled the three-member committee, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and told it that Mr. Thomas had been “acquitted” (in the Kerala palmolein import scam case). Both Mr. Chidambaram and Ms. Swaraj were members of the committee.
“Actually, Ms. Swaraj is tying herself in knots by making thoughtless allegations,” Mr. Chidambaram said in a statement here on Wednesday.
“Firstly, if no sanction for prosecution had been granted since 1999 against P. J. Thomas (as admitted by her) how could the case have proceeded to trial or ended in an acquittal? Secondly, if the Supreme Court had stayed the trial of the case (as admitted by her), is it not self-evident that the case was pending and nobody could have been either acquitted or convicted?'' Mr. Chidambaram asked.
“I reiterate that the committee was aware of the palmolein case; that no sanction for prosecution of Thomas had been granted since 1999; that the case was pending in the trial court; that the Supreme Court had stayed the trial; and that the then CVC had granted vigilance clearance in respect of Mr. Thomas.”
Mr. Chidambaram maintained that he was issuing the rejoinder “most reluctantly'' and requested the Leader of the Opposition to “respect the rule of sub judice and allow the Supreme Court to decide the case.”
BJP leader tweets
Neena Vyas reports:
Eager to get the last word in, Ms. Swaraj tweeted she had read Mr. Chidambaram's latest statement. “The Home Minister has admitted [he knew] the palmolein case was pending against P.J. Thomas and yet he appointed him.”
The country could have been spared the spectacle of watching the CVC fighting a corruption case against him had the Minister heeded her advice, Ms. Swaraj said.