NEW DELHI: Pradeep Kumar, the outgoing defence secretary and the next Chief Vigilance Commissioner, says corruption remains a very major challenge and would have to be dealt at all levels.
Kumar will be sworn in as the CVC on Thursday, almost four months after PJ Thomas's appointment was quashed by the Supreme Court because of a pending chargesheet against him. The President will administer the oath of office to the 62-year-old IAS officer at Rashtrapati Bhavan at 11 am, officials said.
“Corruption is a very major challenge,” Kumar said on Wednesday, discussing the challenges of heading the country's anti-corruption watchdog at a time when a spirited debate over several scandals and the efficacies of the present anti-corruption mechanisms has gripped the nation.
Kumar, a Haryana cadre IAS officer who was set to complete his mandated two-year term as defence secretary on July 31, was unanimously chosen as the next CVC by a panel comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, home minister P Chidambaram and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. He will have a tenure of little over three years.
Meanwhile, PJ Thomas on Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court demanding a stay on the appointment of Kumar. Through his writ petition, Thomas sought a direction to the President not to issue the warrant of appointment to Kumar since she was yet to decide on Thomas's represe
ntation to her against the judgment of the apex court.
Government sources said that Rashtrapati Bhavan had referred Thomas's petition within days to the Department of Personnel and Training for appropriate action.
In his representation to the President on March 16, Thomas had requested her to refer the decision of the apex court to a constitution bench, arguing the SC bench had no jurisdiction to cancel his appointment as only a five-judge bench could have adjudicated the case. The President cancelled Thomas's appointment as CVC on March 15, 11 days after the apex court order.
“The warrant of appointment of Thomas was cancelled only on the basis of the said judgment. When the legality and the validity of the judgment itself is disputed, it is our humble view that only after reaching conclusion on the legality and validity of the judgment, the respondent (President) should go ahead with the appointment of new CVC,” the petition argued, urging the HC to intervene.
The petition cites Article 145 (3) of the Constitution, saying issues connected with the interpretation of the Constitution have to be decided by a minimum five-judge bench and therefore assails the SC three-judge bench verdict.
The SC had quashed the appointment of Thomas as CVC as a chargesheet was pending against him in the palmolein corruption case in Kerala. Thomas was appointed as CVC in September 2010.