Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan warned Modi on May 20: Chowdury is "dubious frontrunner" for CVC post

Chowdary
By Our Representative
Creating ripple in India’s top corridors of power, senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, founder of the newly-formed Swaraj Samvad, has released a letter he wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi forewarning the appointment of former chairperson, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) VK Chowdary as the new Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC). Written on May 20, Bhushan in his letter calls Chowdary “dubious front-runner” for the top CVC post.
A 1978 batch Indian Revenue Service officer, Chowdary retired as CBDT chief in October last year, has been working as adviser to Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) which is probing black money cases. The panel headed by the Prime Minister, and included Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, agreed on his name on June 1. CVC's main job is to inquiry into charges against senior bureaucrats.
Basing his information on “reliable sources” about the government “decision” to appoint Chowdary as India’s new CVC, Bhushan reminds Modi that the Central Vigilance Commission, in the absence of the Lokpal, is considered “the apex integrity and watchdog institution of the country”. He tells him, “Apart from overseeing the vigilance administration, it has also been tasked with superintendence over the CBI in corruption cases and for protection of the whistleblowers.”
Suggesting that Chowdary is incapable to carry on with the task, given his past record, Bhushan says, Chowdary’s name “figures four times in the list of persons who visited former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha at his (Sinha’s) official residence”, and that the Supreme Court on May 14, 2015 had said that Sinha’s “meetings and the impact of those meetings on cases being dealt by the CBI needs to be investigated.”
Bhushan tweets to release letter to Modi

Giving another instance of “dubious” nature of Chowdary, Bhushan says, “During the tenure of former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha, Chowdary’s role was investigated by the CBI in stock guru scam.” Then, there was the instance when “Chowdary, who was chairman and member (investigation) of income tax, was apparently investigating hawala dealer Moin Qureshi who repeatedly visited Sinha.”
Bhushan said, Chowdary, was Director General of Income Tax (DGIT), Delhi when the Radia tapes were intercepted, yet he “did not take any action on evidence available with him.” Also, “as in charge of 2G scam investigation in income tax, “Chowdary failed to make any headway in the case, unlike the other agencies like the CBI or the ED”, he adds.
Further, Bhushan says, “Chowdary was also in charge of investigating HSBC account holders for almost three years. Until Supreme Court appointed the SIT, there was almost no progress in the income tax investigation under Chowdary. At the time SIT was formed, income tax department had not filed even a single prosecution case against HSBC account holders.”
Pointing out that there were “serious adverse remarks have been made in Chowdary’s performance appraisal reports by three senior officers of CBDT”, Bhushan tells Modi how Chowdary “wrongfully reduced the undeclared wealth of Messrs Flora and Fauna, a company of Ponty Chadha by over Rs 200 crores.”
“In light of the above, I request you to ensure that your high offices are not used for the appointment of dubious officers as the CVC”, Bhushan says in his letter to Modi, adding, “It is only fortuitously that I have come to know about Chowdary’s likely appointment as CVC, and therefore I am placing this information before you.”
Bhushan also underlines in his letter to Modi that the Supreme Court on May 13, 2015 had lifted the stay on the appointment of CVC and Vigilance Commissioners (VCs) “after the Attorney General appearing for your government assured the Court that your government would appoint the best person after following a credible transparent selection process.”

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