The political bureaucracy

Besides, the political snitching within the UPA government over the disastrous appointment of P J Thomas as Chief Vigilance Commissioner, the controversy is a blot on the functioning of the Department of Personnel, the main processor of all such postings, and a clear example of the rampant politicisation of the Indian bureaucracy.

Although since the day he took over as the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been giving long lectures on the urgent need to depoliticize the bureaucracy on each Civil Services Day, the facts unfortunately are to the contrary.

Manmohan Singh has told the Rajya Sabha that he was not aware that Thomas was involved in the 1991-92 Palmolien import case when his name was being considered for the CVC's job. The PM said that the then Minister of State (Personnel) Prithviraj Chavan did not place this critical fact on the record. Now Maharashtra Chief Minister, Chavan on his part blamed the Kerala government for not bringing this fact his notice. But Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan has blown a huge hole into Chavan's justification by releasing the very letter that informed about Thomas' involvement in the Palmolien case. Now it does not require rocket science to understand that Chavan, a known Nehru-Gandhi family loyalist, was acting under party instructions or coalition compulsions and so were the PM and the Home Minister P Chidambaram when they met Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj to decide on the CVC appointment last year.

Thomas was obviously not Mr Chidambaram's candidate or his detractors led by Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh would have taken pot shots at him in order to embarrass him. Had it not been for the Supreme Court, Thomas would have been judging government servants on corruption and vigilance issues despite being himself being involved in the same muck.

... contd.

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