SC quashes appointment of Thomas as CVC, Thomas resigns

60-year-old CV Thomas, facing a corruption case in a Kerala court relating to palmolein import scam, resigned immediately after the apex court gave its verdict, just six months after he was appointed as the 14th CVC

New Delhi: Dealing a big blow to United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the Supreme Court on Thursday quashed the appointment of PJ Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), holding that the recommendation made by the high-powered panel-headed by prime minister Manmohan Singh-did not consider the relevant material and therefore its advice "does not exist in law", reports PTI.

60-year-old Mr Thomas, facing a corruption case in a Kerala court relating to palmolein import scam, resigned immediately after the apex court gave its keenly awaited verdict, just six months after the former bureaucrat was appointed as the 14th CVC.

"He has resigned. The Supreme Court has also held his appointment as illegal," law minister Veerappa Moily told reporters.

A bench comprising Chief Justice SH Kapadia and justices KS Radhakrishnan and Swatantra Kumar said, "We declare that the recommendation made by the high-powered committee is 'non-est' in law. Which means that the recommendations made on 3 September 2010 does not exist in law. Consequently, the appointment of Mr Thomas goes."

In comments that came as an embarrassment for the prime minister, the bench severely criticised the committee for not considering the relevant material including the pending criminal case against Mr Thomas in the palmolein import case and the recommendations of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) between 2000-04 for initiating disciplinary proceedings against him.

"It is the duty of the high-powered committee (HPC) to not to recommend the name of a person who can affect the institutional integrity of the CVC," the bench said, adding the institutional integrity and the integrity of a person holding the post of CVC is the touchstone of the office under the CVC Act.

The court said the HPC failed to consider relevant material against Mr Thomas and the entire focus was on his bio-data and none of the government bodies including the DoPT focussed on larger issue of institutional integrity.

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CBI questions realty firm for links with ADAG in 2G scam case

"We had entered into a joint venture with ADAG six years back for two hotels and we were called to the CBI to explain our financial dealings with that company," Amit Sarin, director and CEO of Anant Raj Industries told PTI after he was questioned by the agency

New Delhi: Continuing its probe into the financial dealings of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) in connection with the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday questioned a top executive of realty and infrastructure firm for links with the group, reports PTI.

Official sources said the agency yesterday questioned Amit Sarin, director and CEO of Anant Raj Industries.

"We had entered into a joint venture with ADAG six years back for two hotels and we were called to the CBI to explain our financial dealings with that company," Mr Sarin told PTI after he was questioned by the agency. He maintained that his company had no role to play in the 2G scam.

The questioning comes days after the agency told a court here that Reliance had stakes in Swan Telecom which was one of the companies that had bagged the 2G spectrum license. The agency has already done a round of questioning with Mr Ambani recently.

Rejecting the bail pleas of Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and RK Chandolia, former personal secretary of former telecom minister A Raja, special CBI judge OP Saini had said "Reliance Telecom of the ADAG group of companies had already been granted license in some circles and, as such, Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, its associate company, was not eligible for license."

The court said Swam Telecom should not have applied for licenses in the first place as it was incorporated by the Reliance group of companies and thus was ineligible.

Meanwhile, the CBI on Wednesday also questioned Sanjeev Agha, CEO of Idea Cellular in connection with the scam.

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The SEC looks to crack down on Street bonuses

The Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed a crackdown on hefty compensation awarded at big banks, brokerage firms and hedge funds-a proposal which would for the first time require Wall Street firms to file detailed accounts of their bonuses with the Commission-which could then ban any awards it deemed excessive.

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