Under attack after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed him,Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday,accused Kerala Chief Minister VS Achutanandan of misquoting him on the CVC issue.
Asked about Achutanandan accusing him of “lying” regarding his reported remarks on the appointment of PJ Thomas as Kerala Chief Secretary,he said “my statment was misquoted and twisted by the Chief Minister of Kerala.”
“All I had said in my press conference in Pune was that Thomas was appointed Chief Secretary by Government of Kerala,” he said.
Achutanandan had said that Chavan was trying to hide his fault by blaming the Kerala government.
In Pune,Chavan had sought to pass the buck to the Kerala Government. He had said DoPT had suggested three names – two retired officers and one serving – for the post of CVC.
One of them was Chief Secretary in a state to be brought to Delhi. “Vigilance clearance is done by the state,” Chavan had said.
On Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement,Chavan said “I would like to clarify right now,after what Prime Minister has clarified,I have nothing more to add.”
Chavan was the Minister of State for Personnel when the controversial appointment of Thomas as CVC was made in September last year.
He was asked to comment on Singh’s statement in the Lok Sabha two days ago which virtually blamed him for omitting to mention the chargesheet pending against Thomas before the high-powered committee headed by the Prime Minister.
“The Prime Minister has made a very clear statement in the House. I dont think anything further needs to be said,” he said,replying to a volley of questions on the issue.
Asked why Thomas was empanelled as Secretary to the Government of India despite a chargesheet against him,Chavan said,”That question needs to be answered. You need to know the process of how it happens. You must ask the people who are involved in the process”. He did not clarify further.
Sources admitted that there was an error in recommending Thomas’ name,but said these things are done at the level of officials and Chavan might not be personally responsible for it.
When pointed out that the BJP was taking up the matter forcefully in Maharashtra,Chavan merely said “I will reply to them in Mumbai when the state Assembly begins on Monday.”
The sources said Chavan was asked to give a panel of three names for consideration for the post of the Central Vigilance Commissioner,which he had done.
Besides Thomas,then a serving Secretary,Chavan had suggested names of two former government officers.