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Chidambaram denies having misled CVC selection committee

February 2, 2011 - New Delhi

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram today denied the allegation by the leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj that he had misled the Committee which selected the Chief Vigilance Commissioner.

In a statement issued here, Chidambaram said: "I take exception to the statement by Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, that I had "misled the Selection Committee" and told the Committee that PJ Thomas had been "acquitted". Actually, Swaraj is tying herself in knots by making thoughtless allegations."

"Firstly, if no sanction for prosecution had been granted since 1999 against P.J. Thomas (as admitted by her) how could the case have proceeded to trial or ended in an acquittal of Shri Thomas? Secondly, if the Supreme Court had stayed the trial of the case (as admitted by her), is it not self-evident that the case was pending and nobody could have been either acquitted or convicted?," he said.

He further reiterated that the Committee was aware of the palmolein case; that no sanction for prosecution of Thomas had been granted since 1999.

The case was pending in the trial court. The Supreme Court had stayed the trial of the case and the then CVC had granted vigilance clearance in respect of Thomas, Chidambaram said.

Emphasising that he issued this rejoinder, once again, most reluctantly, Chidambaram said: "I would request Sushma Swaraj to respect the rule of sub judice and allow the Supreme Court to decide the case."

On Tuesday, Sushma Swaraj said that Chidambaram had claimed in the selection committee meeting that PJ Thomas had been acquitted in the palmolein import case.

"Chidambaram's claim that decision was taken in Thomas' favour after a detailed discussion is far from truth. The Government had not informed the committee members about the pending case against Thomas. When I brought it to the notice of the committee, Chidambaram said Thomas has been acquitted in that case," Sushma said here on Tuesday.

"I had decided to file an affidavit in the CVC case to apprise the Supreme Court of true facts. The Home Minister has now admitted that I had raised the palmolein case in the meeting and recorded my disagreement precisely for this reason," Sushma said. "Now there is no dispute on the facts. Therefore, there is no need for my affidavit," she added. Sushma had put on record her disagreement over Thomas' appointment as CVC.

The Government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the selection committee was not aware of the case pending against PJ Thomas.


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