Protecting whistleblowers will be among priorities: Chowdary

Protecting whistleblowers will be among priorities: Chowdary

 Setting an aim of completing departmental proceedings in a time-bound manner, new Chief Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdary today said his focus during the tenure would be to protect whistleblowers and ensure "no personal vendetta" in vigilance-related work.

60-year-old Chowdary, who is the first Indian Revenue Services to head the top anti-corruption watchdog, also sought to downplay opposition from noted lawyers Ram Jethmalani and Prashant Bhushan, who have questioned his professional credentials to head the Vigilance Commission.

The 1978-batch IRS officer, who earlier today resigned as Advisor to Supreme Court-constituted Special Investigating Team on black money, said, his priorities will include that "whistleblowers are well protected and there are no personal vendetta in play when it comes to vigilance-related works."

Immediately, the CVC will have to deal with a Supreme Court reference on former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha's association with some of the accused involved in the coal scam. The apex court has asked the the anti-corruption watchdog to assist it.

Chowdary, who will be administered an oath of office and secrecy by President Pranab Mukherjee tomorrow, joins the CVC after it remained headless since September last year post the retirement of Pradeep Kumar.

"The Central Vigilance Commission will aim to strengthen the overall work of the government and promote transparency in decision-making," Chowdary said.

He sought to downplay questions raised by Jethmalani and Bhushan saying "I respect them (Bhushan and Jethmalani). I am clear in my mind and heart about what I do. They are my elderly figures and I believe that they will themselves realise that I am not the kind of man that they have alleged. My work will speak for me.

"One of them (Jethmalani) is like a father figure to me and hence I reiterate that I respect them both and would not like to join issues with them," Chowdary told PTI on the eve of his swearing-in by President Pranab Mukherjee.

Seeking to shun all criticism over his appointment, Chowdary, a former chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), said "my priorities will be to strengthen the overall work of the CVC and focus on preventive vigilance. It would be important for me to see that disciplinary proceedings are completed in a time-bound manner so that no one is harassed.

"The CVC's focus will also be on good investigations so that probes are undertaken in the right earnest and they reach their logical conclusion," Chowdary, who retired as the Chairman of the CBDT in October last year, said.

Hailing from Andhra Pradesh, he has earlier served as the Director General of Income Tax (Investigations) in Delhi and has been credited with dealing with some of the high-profile cases related to the 2G spectrum allocation scam, the HSBC black money list and a number of other tax evasion cases.

He has also been credited with initiating a host of new steps to enhance and fine tune snooping capabilities and investigations of the Income-Tax department.

Chowdary was also part of the three-member high-level Finance Ministry team which visited Switzerland last year and deliberated on India's combat against illegal funds stashed in the alpine nation.

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