Sanjay Kothari, the Secretary to the President, has been selected as the new Chief Vigilance Commissioner by a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials said on Wednesday, 19 February.
The committee has also chosen by a majority decision, former Information and Broadcasting Secretary Bimal Julka, currently serving as an Information Commissioner, as the new Chief Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission.
"Kothari and Julka have been selected as the next CVC and CIC," a senior government official said. Both Kothari and Julka are retired Indian Administrative Service officers.
While Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury opposed the decisions, it was supported by other members in the panel – Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Minister of State for PMO and Personnel Jitendra Singh, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Secretary Personnel C Chandramouli, sources said.
The panel also decided by majority the appointment of Suresh Patel as Vigilance Commissioner and Anita Pandove as Information Commissioner.
The orders related to the appointments are expected to be issued on Wednesday after formal approval from President Ram Nath Kovind, the official said.
The Central Vigilance Commission is an-corruption watchdog with autonomous status.
It is free of control from any executive authority and has the responsibility of monitoring all vigilance activities in the Central government besides advising various authorities in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.
The Central Information Commission was constituted under the Right to Information Act and has the jurisdiction over all central public authorities.
Appointment is Illegal, Unlawful & Unconstitutional: Cong
The Congress on Wednesday termed the process adopted for appointment of the next Chief Vigilance Commissioner "illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional" and demanded its immediate scrapping.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the government should initiate a fresh process for appointing the next CVC by inviting applications again.
“We demand that the entire process be scrapped in its entirety and a de novo process started by inviting applications afresh. There needs to be proper application of mind,” he told reporters.
Tewari claimed that it is clear that the government has a lot to hide and wants the CVC to be a "rubber stamp".
He said this is the way institutions are being destroyed in this country and asked whether "we are living in a democracy or a banana republic".
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also attacked the government over the appointment of CVC and CIC and alleged there is no place for transparency, accountability and constitutional processes in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'New India, which was fatal for democracy.
He alleged that the appointments of CVC and CIC are being made arbitrarily on the lines of "khul ja sim sim" (open sesame).
"Arbitrariness in top judicial institutions is fatal for democracy," he said.
"The appointments of CVC and CIC are being made on the lines of 'open sesame'. Bring out names from the pocket and make appointments, that's it. There is no place left for transparency, accountability, constitutional processes and compliance of law in Modi ji's 'New India'," he said on Twitter.
(With inputs from PTI.)