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New CVC and CIC

Selection meeting turns stormy

Sanjay Kothari, a 1978-batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, Secretary to the President of India, has been appointed as the new Chief Vigilance Commissioner of India. The new Central Information Commissioner is Bimal Julka, a 1979-batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre and former I&B Secretary. He is currently an information Commissioner. The 90-minute meeting to select the CVC and CIC was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah; MoS, PMO and DoPT, Jitendra Singh, Cabinet Secretary Rajeev Gauba and DoPT Secretary C Chandramouli. The selection meeting got into rough weather when it was found out that Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar was also one of the 126 applicants who got shortlisted. Lone Opposition member Adhi Ranjan Chowdhury objected that Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar, a member of the search committee, has “also turned out to be an applicant for the CVC and was finally shortlisted for the post of CVC by the search committee.” Besides Kumar, the members of the search committee were Gauba and Chandramouli. This is not the first time the Opposition has disagreed with the government of the day on the appointment of the CVC. In 2010, the selection of the CVC ran into a controversy after the Government decided to appoint the then Telecom Secretary PJ Thomas despite strong objections from the then Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. Thomas’s appointment reached the doorstep of the Supreme Court which struck down his appointment in March 2011. The CVC post had been lying vacant for the last eight months. The outgoing CVC KV Chowdary, a 1978-batch officer of Indian Revenue Service, was reportedly an acolyte of former finance minister Arun Jaitley. It was alleged at that point of time that KV Chowdary was investigating the tapes of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and did not take any action on the evidence available with him.

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