THE PM-headed panel that includes Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge selected the next Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), a post that has been lying vacant since September last year when the then CVC Pradeep Kumar had retired. And a former IRS officer Kosaraju Veeraiah Chowdary, the Income-Tax sleuth who played a critical role in probes like 2G spectrum allocation and the HSBC Geneva taxpayers list, is tipped to be the next CVC, according to… reports that are still unofficial, as the name will formally be announced after President Pranab Mukherjee returns from his foreign tour later this week and gives his assent to the recommendation.
After the meeting, Kharge told reporters that the meeting was confidential but added that the panels (there were two panels, one each for CVC and CIC) sent the recommendations to President’s office. The name of Vijai Sharma, the senior-most information commissioner, was reportedly recommended as the new chief information commissioner (CIC).
And if the initial reports are correct, the post of CVC, traditionally held by a retired IAS officer, will now go to a retired IRS officer. The power of the CVC can be gauged by the wide mandate he enjoys under which the CVC can probe corruption cases of any government official, be it a peon or the cabinet secretary. Also, the CVC has a say on the appointment of the CBI director, thereby making the post all the more important. After the Supreme Court judgement on PJ Thomas case, the post of CVC is no longer restricted to a retired or serving civil servant, and a private citizen can also be a contender to the post.
Chowdary joined IRS in 1978 and moved up in the ladder to become chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the highest decision-making body on I-T policy. In CBDT, he was first Member (Audit and Judicial) before taking charge of investigations.
Earlier, during his tenure as Director General (Investigations) in Delhi, he got a chance to head high-profile I-T probes like that of 2G spectrum allocation case and the HSBC Geneva taxpayers list. That Chowdary is highly valued by the present government can be gauged by the fact that soon after his retirement as the CBDT chief, he was appointed as an Advisor to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was probing black money cases.
Chowdary has a post-graduate degree in mathematics from Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai.