Chavan was making a statement in the state Legislative Assembly on his role in the controversial appointment of Thomas as CVC. Chavan was union minister of state for personnel and training in the Prime Miniser’s Office when Thomas was appointed CVC.
Nevertheless, Chavan’s statement was clearly aimed at turning tables on the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala, which is going to polls to elect the new Assembly.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had told the Rajya Sabha that the name of Thomas was shortlisted and forwarded to the three-member high power committee by Chavan.
Chavan said his department had shortlisted two retired and one serving officer for the CVC post last year. “After due deliberation, I had shortlisted three names consisting two retired secretaries and one serving secretary of the Government of India for the selection of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner.
“The formal proposal consisting the names of three shortlisted officers was forwarded to me by the Department of Personnel and Training along with their respective Employee Record (ER) sheets. The papers submitted to me did not had reference to any adverse vigilance status or pending case against P J Thomas. I, therefore, approved the file and the agenda of the meeting for the selection of the CVC which was circulated to members of the selection committee,” Chavan said.
“After the SC took up the issue (CVC appointment), I enquired about the matter of the vigilance clearance and found that the Central Vigilance Commission in 2007 had indeed given a clean chit to Thomas. A copy of the CVC’s letter to the DoPT dated June 25, 2007, has been given to the Speaker,” Chavan said.
“I would also like to add that in October 2008 when the Government of India wrote to the Kerala government asking about his (Thomas) availability for the possible appointment as a secretary to the Government of India on Central deputation, the Kerala government in its letter dated December 2, 2008, confirmed his availability. As a result, Thomas was appointed secretary (Parliamentary Affairs), and thereafter, as secretary (Telecom) in the Government of India,” Chavan said.