Govt version absolute lie, says Sushma Swaraj

Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said it was an "absolute lie" that the issue of sanction for prosecution against P J Thomas was not brought before the high-powered panel that appointed him as the Central Vigilance Commissioner. In an unprecedented move by a Leader of Opposition who is a member of the committee, Swaraj said she would file an affidavit in the Supreme Court placing the "facts".

The Prime Minister and the Home Minister are the other members of the committee which appoints the CVC.

"What the government has stated in the Supreme Court today is totally wrong. I brought to the notice of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister that a case is pending against him. I specifically mentioned about the palmolein case," Swaraj told The Indian Express, debunking Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati's contention.

However, reacting to the BJP charge, AG Goolam E Vahanvati said he had only told the court that the papers and file pertaining to the Palmolein case pending against Thomas as well as the request for sanction and subsequent correspondence had not been circulated among the members of the selection committee.

In a statement, Vahanvati also said that in response to a question raised by the petitioners as to what had been said at the selection committee meeting by Swaraj, he had informed the court that the note on the proceedings showed that the Leader of the Opposition had endorsed "I disagree". "It was accordingly not possible for me to tell the court what was or was not discussed among the members of the committee at the meeting. It was never stated by me that this matter relating to the Palmolein case was not discussed by the members of the committee," he said.

Asked what was the response of the PM and Home Minister when she drew their attention that a case related to corruption was pending against Thomas, Swaraj said, "The Home Minister (P Chidambaram) said he has been exonerated in that case." The PM later said "a decision has to be taken today itself as the new CVC has to take oath on Tuesday", she added.

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