Pradeep Kumar, the newly appointed Central Vigilance Commissioner, who was the Defense secretary earlier, had not applied for the job of CVC. His name was neither sponsored, nor nominated by any authority, according to information received under the Right to Information Act from the Union ministry of Personnel and Training.
Interestingly he is not the only one who was singled out for this graceful act. Two other candidates, Naresh Dayal, former health secretary and RP Agarwal, former secretary, Higher education also did not apply for the post. Their names were, however, were included in the panel of names considered by the committee for the post of CVC.
It’s worthwhile to mention that the Union personnel and training Secretary, Ms. Alka Sirohi, in a circular on April 5, 2011 had sought names of the persons for consideration for appointment as CVC. This was necessitated after the Supreme Court had quashed the appointment of P J Thomas, the then CVC because of his involvement in the Palmolein import case.
The circular had quoted the judgement of the Supreme Court on March 3,2011 in writ petitions no 348 and 355 and had called for names of suitable persons which should be forwarded with notes containing reasons why in the opinion of the forwarding/sponsoring authority the persons is considered suitable for appointment as CVC.
But the names of Pradeep Kumar and some others were considered even without any forwarding or sponsoring.
While some of the applicants applied by self, the name of many others were forwarded by their respective departmental heads and some names were also nominated by the state government.
One name was recommended by the Vice-President secretariat too. According to the list, there were 40 candidates in all.
Some names came with a high profile sponsorship including support from Union ministers. Name of Vijay Sharma, a 1974 batch IAS was recommended by P L Punia, chairman of National Commission of Scheduled Castes. Dr Leo Rebello, a social worker was recommended by the Vice-President's Secretariat.
Direct applications from group A officers without nominations or vigilance clearance were received from P N Vittal Das,IRS and Chander Shekhar IPS.
The list included secretaries of various union ministries. Prabhat Kumar Chaturvedi, Secretary, labour and employment name was sponsored by the Union minister for labour, Satyanarayan Dash, secretary in department of heavy industries name was received from the Cabinet secretariat.
Noor Mohammad, IAS (UP,1977), Sudhir Kumar,IAS ( Karnataka,1977), Anil Bhushan Prasad,IAS(Bihar1976),Brahamn Dutt ,IAS(Karnataka 1973) ,KS Ramasubham, IAS(West Bengal 1976) and Sujit Banerjee, Secretary ,National Authority on chemicals weapons conventions had sent their applications for the post on their own.
Bijay Chatterjee, Secretary of department of chemicals and petro-chemicals, APVN Sharma, Secretary, Shipping applied through the Minister of Shippin. While C Balakrishnan, secretary of Coal applied through the Coal Minister.
Names of Sundaram Krishna and Shekhar Agarwal were sent by the department of Defence while S Krishnan applied through the department of Fertiliser.
The former union home secretary, G K Pillai and the present Chief Secretary of Bihar, Anup Mukherjee, too had applied for the post and had sent their applications through secretary, Border management.
B K Sinha, Secretary in the rural development sent his applications through secretary of Youth Affairs department.
Ms. K Sujatha Rao, sent her papers through the ministry of health and family welfare. Ms. Usha Mathur, Secretary of Parliamentary affairs got her application forwarded by the minister of her department.
V K Bhashin, Secretary of legislative department's application was forwarded by the minister of law and justice .Ms Rekha Gupta, deputy controller and auditor general's application was recommended by the department of expenditure,
Anupam Kulshehtra, deputy CG too applied through his department like his another colleague Sunil Verma, another deputy CAG.
Ms Vijaylakshmi Gupta, Secretary in defence finance got her papers forwarded by the ministry of defence.
S M Jharwal, chairman of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority was also an applicant for the post and his name was forwarded by the department of economic affairs.
AP Mishra, member of Railway Board applied through the chairman of the Board. Ajay Chowdhury, who is the founder of HCL too had applied through the secretary in department of information technology, but later withdrew his application.
Name of Pancham Lal, principal secretary of Bihar was recommended by the Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar.
But, in case of Pradeep Kumar, R P Agarwal and Naresh Dayal, there was no application, according to the information received under RTI. Their names were found as annexure to the proceedings of the committee for making recommendations for appointment of CVC, the information said.
Maybe if asked that how Mr.Pradeep Kumar was selected even though he had never applied for the post, the government may reply that the forty odd applications received for the said post from senior IAS officers were not considered eligible enough for the top post.
But then that argument will raise questions on the whole process of calling for applications and also questions the value of the Ministries that sponsored those candidates who eventually were not selected even though they were recommended in comparison to someone who did not apply nor was recommended.
Without casting any questions on the integrity of any person, one cannot help but feel that political consideration and the impression of how much a bureaucrat is close to the political leader does play a part in such a high post appointment.
For all of us.