Four months after the Supreme Court quashed the appointment of P J Thomas,a committee comprising the Prime Minister,the Home Minister and the Leader of the Opposition will meet tomorrow to pick a new Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC).
In the short-list of contenders are former Home Secretary G K Pillai,Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar,retired IAS officer Naresh Dayal and Railway Board member A P Mishra.
All four are,or have been,civil servants. While quashing the appointment of Thomas who was selected despite strong objection from the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj at a September 4,2010 meeting of the panel the Supreme Court had observed that the CVCs office shall not be restricted to civil servants.
The post of Indias top anti-corruption watchdog has been lying vacant since March,and several appointments and transfers in the CBI have been held up as a result. The CVC is a member of the panel entrusted with making these decisions.
The inclusion of Pillai,a 1972 batch IAS officer who demitted office yesterday,was surprising,since he is said to have ruled himself out of the race. Official sources said the BJP would not be averse to backing Pillais candidature,since he is considered to be a no-nonsense officer who speaks his mind and takes bold decisions.
Pradeep Kumar is said to be the other top contender for the post. He is a Haryana cadre IAS officer of the 1972 batch,and was disinvestment secretary and secretary,defence production,before becoming defence secretary.
Dayal,a retired health secretary,currently heads an expert committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Mishra,an Indian Railway Service of Engineers officer of the 1974 batch,is Member (Engineering),Railway Board.
The Department of Personnel and Training began the process of drawing up the list of probables candidates for CVC in May. The initial shortlist had over 50 names that also included non-civil servants.