New Delhi, June 8 (IANS): Former Central Board of Direct Taxation chief K.V. Chowdary has been appointed the new Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), while senior-most Information Commissioner Vijai Sharma was named the new Chief Information Commissioner, it was announced on Monday.
The announcement was made after President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the appointments. The president was on an official tour last week when the names were cleared in two separate meetings, almost after nine months of the posts lying vacant.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge are members of both committees, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was present in the meeting on selection of the CIC, while Home Minister Rajnath Singh was there in the meeting on the CVC.
The post of CVC had been lying vacant since Pradeep Kumar retired on September 28 last year, while the post of vigilance commissioner was also unfilled since incumbent J.M. Garg completed his tenure on September 7 last year.
Also Sudhir Bhargava, a 1979 batch IAS officer, and former social justice and empowerment secretary, was appointed information commissioner in the Central Information Commission while T.M. Bhasin, chairman and managing director of the public sector Indian Bank, was appointed as a vigilance commissioner, an official release said.
Chowdary, a 1979 batch Indian Revenue Service officer, has also headed many high-profile income tax probes, including that of the 2G spectrum allocation case and the HSBC Geneva taxpayers’ list. He is currently working as an adviser in Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to check black money.
This is the first time a non-Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer will be the CVC. Chowdary will have a tenure of about six months as he attains the age of 65 years on December 1 this year. Sharma, the new CIC, is an IAS officer of 1974 batch. The post of CIC was vacant since incumbent Rajiv Mathur retired on August 22, 2014.
Over 40,000 cases, including over 32,000 appeals and 7,500 complaints filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act are pending in the commission, as per official data. The Narendra Modi government had come under much criticism for delaying the appointments to the two posts.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi had attacked Prime Minister Modi over the delay in the appointments of chiefs of CIC, CVC and Lokpal saying the government feared transparency. Many RTI activists had also questioned the delay in appointments.