By electing KV Chowdhary as CVC, Government failed to keep the promise given to SC ; Prashant Bhushan
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan has released a statement against the Prime Minister’s (PM) recommendation of former chairperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes Mr. K V Choudhry as the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC).Mr.Bhushan had written a letter to the PM and other senior Ministers on May 20th, 2015 asking for disclosure of the names of all shortlisted candidates for the post of CVC. The letter also stated various reasons why Mr. Choudhary was not fit for the post.
Following are some of the main reasons why Mr.Bhushan thinks that Mr. Choudhry is not fit to be the CVC –
- According to the Supreme Court order on 14th May 2015, former Central Bureau of Investigation Director Mr. Ranjit Sinha’s meetings and the impact of those meetings on cases being dealt by the CBI, needs to be investigated. Significantly, Mr. Choudhry’s name appears 4 times in the list of persons who visited former CBI Director Mr. Ranjit Sinha at his official residence.
- During the tenure of former CBI Director Mr. Ranjit Sinha, Choudhry’s role was investigated by the CBI in ‘Stock Guru’ scam.
- Choudhry was the then Director General of Income Tax, Delhi when the Radia tapes were intercepted and he did not take any action on evidence available with him until the Supreme Court which intervened and order the CBI to investigate.
- While in charge of the 2G scam investigation in income tax department, Mr. Choudhry had failed to make any breakthrough investigation leads unlike the other agencies like the CBI or the Enforcement Directorate.
- Choudhry, who was in-charge of investigating HSBC account holders, did not make any progress in the income tax investigation for three years until the Supreme Court appointed the Special Investigation Team.
- Lastly, serious adverse remarks have been made in Mr. Choudhry’s performance appraisal reports by three senior officers of CBDT.
He clearly stated that the CVC, in absence of the Lokpal, is the apex integrity and watchdog institution of India. The statement stresses on the importance of the CVC in the following words, “Apart from overseeing the vigilance administration, it has also been tasked with superintendence over the CBI in corruption cases and for protection of the whistleblowers.”
Mr.Bhushan has heavily criticised the government for not following the promise it gave the Supreme Court. On May 13th, 2015, when the apex court lifted the stay on the appointment of CVC, the Attorney General had assured that the government would appoint the best person after following a credible transparent selection process. According to Mr.Bhushan, “The selection of such persons in secrecy and without any transparency by a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Leader of largest opposition party shows that there is indeed a bipartisan consensus on corruption and that both the BJP and the Congress want persons of doubtful integrity, who will be weak and pliable and who have shown a willingness to protect powerful persons, to man such watchdog institutions.”