After Prashant Bhushan strongly opposed the appointment of former CBDT Chief K.V. Choudhry as Chief Vigilance Commissioner, it is now Ram Jethmalani, eminent criminal lawyer and Member of Parliament (MP), who has opposed his appointment. Jethmalani has written a letter dated 2 June 2015 to the President Pranab Mukherjee. He has put the blame on the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for advising the Prime Minister about the CVC appointment.
Jethmalani writes to the President: “I am shocked at what the Prime Minister on the advice of his Finance Minister, is about to do about fulfilling his claim during the election campaign that he wanted to eradicate every bit of corruption and provide a bureaucracy of unimpeachable integrity. This is also statutory requirement for the office of CVC.”
Jethmalani says that he had sent a letter dated 26 May 2015 to the Prime Minister in which he had opposed the appointment of K.V. Chowdary as the future CVC and that after the appointment is sanctioned by the government, the formal appointment would be the act of the President of India. In his letter to the President, he has warned that this would be the greatest disaster that would fall on this unfortunate nation. He has requested the President to call for the entire record of K.V. Chowdary’s involvement in criminal activities from which he had managed to get out with the help of corrupt and anti-national elements, which he says that the Prime Minister unfortunately cannot control.
He has also requested the President to allow him to meet him and demonstrate the fate which awaits the people.
In his letter to the Prime Minster (26/05/2015), Ram Jethmalani had written to the Prime Minister as under:
“As a citizen of India and as part of my duties as the Counsel of the petitioner I will continue to serve the nation by enforcement of the law to promote public probity. Of course this is a difficult task and it becomes necessary to expose some people’s bad record. One of such persons is your Finance Minister. I have made no secret of my contempt for him. I have repeatedly warned you that he has no interest whatsoever in identification and punishment of powerful offenders or in repatriation of the proceeds of their crimes. It is all over the media that at the last meeting of the Selection Committee you had kept Mr. Arun Jaitley present and he was allowed to propose the name of one Mr. K.V. Chowdary as CVC. K.V. Chowdary by no means has a clean record. It is well-known that corrupt public servant thrive with the help of corrupt politicians. Mr. Chowdary has been connected with the previous Finance Minister Mr. Chidambaram whose great contribution to a cause very dear to you was only to frustrate it by his actions which themselves amount to crimes. This Chowdary is also an Ex-Officio member of the SIT. Nothing in the SIT will remain secret from the criminals involved. I understand that your Finance Minister strongly recommended his name for the appointment as CVC.”
In the above letter, Ram Jethmalani also warned the Prime Minister that by the sheer presence of the Finance Minister, the proceedings of the selection committee were rendered null and void.
It is noteworthy that K. V. Choudary is an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer of 1978 batch. He has been working as the Advisor to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was constituted under the orders of the Supreme Court to unearth black money. Previously, he has worked as the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex authority of the Indian Income Tax department. He had earlier also served as the Director General of I-T (Investigations) in Delhi where he headed a number of high-profile tax probes, including the 2G spectrum allocation case and the HSBC Geneva taxpayers list along with a number of cases dealing with black money and tax evasion.