The Centre on Tuesday cleared Sanjay Kothari's name for the post CVC and Bimal Julka as the next CIC despite objections from Chowdhury.
Senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has questioned the Narendra Modi government over the selection of the new Central Vigilance Commissioner and Central Information Commissioner. Chowdhury, a member of the high-powered selection committees headed by the Prime Minister, said the shortlisted candidates were appointed despite his opposition.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the Centre on Tuesday cleared Sanjay Kothari’s name for the post CVC and Bimal Julka as the next CIC despite objections from Chowdhury. The panel also appointed Suresh Patel as Vigilance Commissioner and Anita Pandove as Information Commissioner.
Kothari is currently serving as the secretary to President Ram Nath Kovind. A 1978-batch IAS officer of Haryana cadre, Kothari retired in June 2106 as a DoPT secretary. Julka, on the other hand, is a former Information and Broadcasting Secretary. He is currently an Information Commissioner.
The meeting on Tuesday was attended by PM Modi, Congress’ Chowdhury, Home Minister Amit Shah, MoS PMO Jitendra Singh, Cabinet Secretary Rajeev Gauba and DoPT Secretary C Chandramouli.
The IE report said that Chowdhury argued that the “papers provided by the PMO (for the appointment of the CVC) disclose glaring and fatal infirmities with the (search) committee itself.” The leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha said that Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar was a member of the search committee and turned out to be an applicant for the CVC. He said that Kumar was even shortlisted for the post of CVC by the search committee.
Besides Rajiv Kumar, other members of the search committee were Gauba and Chandramouli.
“I raised the issues and flagged their attention to the procedural flaws…thereafter names (of Kumar) were expunged.. these could be considered as dissent,” Chowdhury told to The Indian Express.
The Congress leader said that the entire purpose of the search committee is vitiated because one of the members is himself an applicant. He demanded to set up a new search committee and initiate the entire process afresh.
On the appointment of the CIC, he said that the government didn’t provide any material particulars in advance. Chowdhury, in a note, said that “in absence of recommendations of the search committee, having been circulated to the undersigned or to the committee itself, how can the undersigned, as a member of the high powered committee discharge his function under Section 12 of the RTI act on the spur of the moment by looking at the recommendations of the search committee that would be placed before the high powered Committee”.
While the post of the CIC has been vacant for more than a month, the CVC post has been lying vacant since June 2019.