New Delhi The Supreme Court on Wednesday was moved for quashing of the appointment of Central Vigilance Commissioner K.V. Chaudhary and Vigilance Commissioner T.M. Bhasin, on grounds that their appointments were in breach of “institutional integrity”.
The petition by NGO Common Cause and many eminent people sought the court’s declaration that the appointments were “illegal and void” as they violated the principles of “impeccable integrity” and “institutional integrity” spelt out by the apex court in earlier judgments.
Even before Chaudhary’s appointment, the petition said, many representations were made to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Congress leader Malikarjun Kharge giving reasons as to why Chaudhary was “not eligible and suitable for heading the important integrity institution”.
A letter was written to the prime minister by eminent jurist and Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan.
Bhushan in his letter said Chaudhary was in-charge of investigating the allegedly illegal account holders in foreign countries for almost three years, and until the apex court appointed the SIT on black money, there was almost no progress in the income tax investigation under him.
“At the time the SIT was formed, the Income Tax Department had not filed even a single prosecution case against HSBC account holders,” said the PIL about Chaudhary.
It said Chaudhary was investigating the tapes of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, and did not take any action on evidence available with him.
Similarly, he was investigating cases in the 2G scam and failed to take any action in contrast to action taken by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.
However, despite representations questing Chaudhary’s suitability, the government went ahead to appoint “their favoured candidate”, it said.
The PIL said Bhasin was appointed Vigilance Commissioner despite being “indicted in a detailed inquiry by the Central Vigilance Commission in 2013 for forging and tampering with appraisal report of the then general manager of the Indian Bank, which is a criminal offence”.
The CVC had undertaken inquiry against Bhasin after a man named Malay Mukherjee complained to the Commission on July 11, 2011, that his annual performance appraisal report was tampered with.
After an inquiry, the commission found that Mukherjee’s report was tampered with and forged by Bhasin and grading of “excellent” was substituted with “average” with a view to destroy his career, the PIL said.