BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter
New Delhi: Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar has been selected to be the new Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) by a three-member committee consisting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj. The committee met today at the prime minister’s residence in Delhi.
It has been reported that Kumar has been selected unanimously. Kumar retires as the defence secretary on July 31. He is a an IIT-Delhi alumni and Haryana cadre IAS officer of the 1972 batch and was the disinvestment secretary and secretary to defence production, before becoming the defence secretary.
Kumar, who will turn 62 on September 29, completed graduation in electrical engineering from IIT-Delhi before joining the IAS in 1972. In 1986, he went to University of Wales, the United Kingdom, on study leave to do a Masters in Economics and Social Sciences.
As an IAS officer, Kumar is well-versed with the corridors of power in the capital. In 1997, he served as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
“The name of the new CVC has been finalised; no objections were raised. The name will be announced by government,” said Sushma Swaraj after the meeting.
The government had received over 50 nominations from various ministries, departments and individuals for the post of CVC following the ouster of P J Thomas.
In March this year, the Supreme Court declared that appointment of P J Thomas as India’s Central Vigilance Commissioner was invalid. Thomas was selected in September 2010 by the three-member committee. The court said that the corruption charges pending against Thomas should have ruled him out for a job that requires him to check corruption among government officials and bureaucrats.
The court said that the PM’s selection committee had not considered the relevant documents for his case, and that it had ignored earlier recommendations for action against him listed by the Department of Personnel and Training.
Thomas was a senior bureaucrat in Kerala in the early 90s, when he allegedly pushed the government to allow the import of edible oil or palmolein. The deal ended up costing the government crores. Thomas was charged with corruption in a criminal case, but because of the political sensitivities of those named with him, the case progressed in fits and starts, depending on which government was in power in Kerala. Thomas enjoyed a series of promotions which saw him being deputed to the Centre.