NATIONAL

Government yet to notify CVC, CIC appointments

Sanjay Kothari

Sanjay Kothari  

No official order even two weeks after selection; Congress leader cites conflict of interest in choice of vigilance chief

Two weeks after a high-power committee (HPC), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, selected the new Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), the Centre is yet to officially notify the appointments.

A day after the selection panel had selected Sanjay Kothari, currently Secretary to the President of India, as the next CVC, the Congress on February 19 demanded that the appointment be scrapped “alleging violation of laid-down procedure”.

A senior official of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) — the nodal Ministry that handles government postings — told The Hindu that the delay was due to the process of getting a replacement for Mr. Kothari and not because of objections raised by the Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a member of the HPC.

Other appointees including CIC designate Bimal Julka have been sent a letter from the DoPT Ministry, officially informing them of the government’s decision.

But the date of their taking charge has not been fixed in the absence of the notification, the DoPT official said.

Though there is no rethink by the government on the appointments, the delay could be linked to fresh objections raised by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in a letter to the Prime Minister in which he cited conflict of interest against the CVC designate.

Chowdhury’s letter

In his letter of February 20, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said: “Gross violation of power and misutilisation of opportunity has been observed in getting self-appointment of CVC by the Secretary to the Honourable President of India. The self-appointment, therefore, seems to be highly irregular, immoral and unjustified.”

In a separate note attached to the February 20 letter, Mr. Chowdhury explained that Sanjay Kothari could be vetting his own appointment before President Ram Nath Kovind gives his approval.

“The Secretary to the present President is Sh. Sanjay Kothari. However, he has been appointed by the President as the CVC which is a Constitutional post. Is there no conflict of interest as it is seen that the same secretary to President processed the file for his own appointment as the CVC and got it approved from the President of India,” Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s note reads.

The Congress has not ruled out the option of approaching the courts once the CVC appointment gets officially notified but a final view is yet to be taken, a senior party source said.

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