NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed the appointment of the central vigilance commissioner for his involvement in a palmolein import case, in another rebuke for the Congress-led coalition government.The rejection of P J Thomas’s appointment as CVC comes as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s government is trying to defend itself against a series of graft scandals including a Rs 1.7 lakh crore telecom licensing scam.The top court said the appointment of Thomas was made last year without taking into account the 1992 case in which he, as a state official, had been accused of signing a deal to import palmoil from Malaysia at higher prices. Thomas has resigned following the verdict, a TV report said. Law minister Veerappa Moily said the government respected the verdict. Prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior cabinet colleagues are meeting to figure out ways to deal with the fall-out of the verdict.
Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Panicker Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar pronounced the verdict on a petition from the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) challenging Thomas’s appointment. The petitioner said Thomas was facing a criminal charge sheet in a case related to palm oil import in Kerala and he was not an ‘outstanding civil servant of impeccable integrity’.