SC verdict on CVC PJ Thomas today

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on Thursday on petitions challenging the appointment of former bureaucrat PJ Thomas, who is facing a corruption case in Kerala, as Central Vigilance Commissioner.

A bench of Chief Justice SH Kapadia and Justices KS Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar had reserved its judgment on February 10.

The PIL filed by an NGO, Center for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and retired bureacrats and police officials, including former Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh, had challenged Thomas` appointment to the post in view of a pending criminal case against him in a Kerala court.

Thomas was appointed CVC on September 7 last year.

Thomas has contested the PIL contending that he was appointed to the post in view of the vigilance clearance given to him before his appointment as Secretary in the union government.

Further, the embattled CVC had said the corruption case pending against him in the Kerala Court was a result of political rivalry between former chief minister K Karunakaran and present chief minister VS Achuthanandan.

The petitioners have contended Thomas cannot be considered as a person of "impeccable integrity" as a chargesheet was filed against him in palmolein import scam when he was a secretary in the Kerala ministry of food and civil supplies. He had secured bail from a local court.

The petitioners have also alleged he was appointed despite strong objections from Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj who was a member of the 3-member panel headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The other member of the panel is Home Minister P Chidambaram.

The petitioners also said he could not be appointed CVC on account of "conflict of interest" as till recently he was serving as telecom secretary and that there was the allegation that he was involved in an alleged "cover-up" of 2G spectrum scam.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had in its report said the loss to the exchequer as a result of sale of spectrum licences to certain companies at undervalued prices was to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.