The gutkha scam in Tamil Nadu

Pyare’s appointment challenged

Mohan Pyare.   | Photo Credit: Bijoy Ghosh

The DMK has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court challenging a Government Order issued on Monday appointing IAS officer Mohan Pyare as State Vigilance Commissioner, replacing V.K. Jeyakodi. The latter had assumed charge after the Madras High Court on July 28 ordered the government to appoint an “upright officer with unimpeachable integrity” to the post to monitor a probe into the gutkha scam, involving a Minister and top police officers.

In his affidavit, DMK’s organisation secretary R.S. Bharathi said the State Vigilance Commission was established in 1965 with the avowed objective of dealing with larger issues related to corruption in public service. Around the same time, the government also constituted the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, a wing of the police department dedicated to investigating complaints related to corruption by public servants.

It was through executive orders, and not statutes, that the two bodies were created. The powers conferred on the DVAC were set out in its manual. In so far as the Vigilance Commission was concerned, its protocols and procedures were governed by a handbook of confidential circulars issued by the State government. It had jurisdiction over all public servants and even those working in public sector undertakings, corporations and other arms of the State Government.

Pointing out that the Centre too had established a similar vigilance commission and had been appointing independent officials to head it on the lines of organisations such as the CBI, the DMK said that in Tamil Nadu alone the post was held by top government officials as additional charge. Such a course had led to the commission losing its independent, objective, transparent and autonomous character, thereby defeating the very purpose of its constitution.

According to the petitioner, the State Vigilance Commissioner’s post was held as additional charge by Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan until May 2 when it was handed over to the Home Secretary “without any reason whatsoever.”

After the High Court’s July 28 order, Mr. Jeyakodi, junior to most top IAS officers, was appointed to the post. Hence, the DMK filed a writ petition challenging his appointment, and the case was still pending.

In the meantime, with a view to making the plea in that writ petition infructuous, the State government issued the order replacing Mr. Jeyakodi with Mr. Mohan Pyare, the party claimed, terming the appointment a colourable exercise of power since it had been made by Finance Secretary K. Shanmugam.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2021 8:42:39 AM |

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