BJP demands apology from PM on Thomas

Chennai: Slamming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue of appointment of P J Thomas as Chief Vigilance Commissioner, which was quashed by the Supreme Court, BJP on Sunday demanded that he should explain the circumstances behind the appointment.

"The Prime Minister is duty bound to tell whether there was an error of judgement or some other pressure from outside. We hope and expect an apology from him to the Parliament and the countrymen (on Thomas`s appointment)," senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here.

On March 3, the Supreme Court had quashed the appointment of P J Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner, who was appointed after the recommendation made by a committee headed by the Prime Minister. Thomas is facing a corruption case in a Kerala court relating to Palmolein import scam.

Naidu also demanded that the Prime Minister explain how and why the appointment was made even as he has owned responsibility and is scheduled to make a statement in Parliament.

Naidu recalled that the government went ahead with Thomas`s appointment despite Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj expressing reservations against it.

"With Supreme Court striking down the appointment, the Prime Minister stands exposed. This incident has caused huge embarrassment to the UPA government which is bruised and battered," he said.

He charged the Prime Minister with having "failed to live upto the expectations of the people" as the government was duty-bound to appoint an officer with impeccable integrity.

Thomas, the then Food Secretary of Kerala in 1992, is the eighth accused in the palmolein import case.

On the issue of corruption, Naidu said the ambit of the Joint Parliamentary Committee, appointed to probe the 2G spectrum allocation scam, should also cover other issues and added that BJP`s officebearers would meet soon to chalk out the future course of action in this regard.

He alleged that Congress was trying to put an end to the 2G spectrum allocation issue by pinning the blame on DMK leader and former IT Minister A Raja, and asserted that all involved in the scam must be brought to book.

He said the people were losing faith in the current UPA regime and wanted the BJP-led NDA to come back to power.

To a question, he said the very survival of the government at Centre was dependent on agencies such as CBI, Income Tax and the institutions of Governors which "are being misused in the most brazen manner."

"The CBI is being misused to keep friendly parties under control and opposition under threat," he charged.

Describing the UPA as "vulnerable", he also charged it with failing to act on the black money trail.