The CVC Thomas affair seems to have pushed the government to be extra-cautious in selecting the next Central Vigilance Commissioner.To avoid a repeat of the extremely embarrassing situation the government faced when the Supreme Court struck as invalid P.J. Thomas’s appointment as CVC, the government has hand-picked a staggering number of 28 “highly-regarded” IAS officers and other public servants.Usually, the panel of candidates is restricted to three- four or, at the most, five names. The unprecedented list is clearly to widen the choice before the selection panel.The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has sent this mammoth list for consideration of the three members of the high- level panel – Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, home minister P. Chidambaram and leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj. The panel is expected to meet either on June 19 or June 20 to decide on who is to be India’s next CVC. The need for such a mammoth panel of candidates has arisen because of the controversy over the selection of P. J. Thomas as CVC. The government appointed him despite objections raised by the leader of the Opposition in a meeting convened on September 3, 2010.Swaraj had pointed out to the PM and the home minister that there was a case pertaining to the Palmolein oil scandal pending against Thomas, who was one of the three officers recommended for the post.At that time, the government overruled her objection only to have the entire process invalidated by the Supreme Court. The apex court declared Thomas’s appointment as invalid necessitating another round of selection for the post of the top vigilance officer.advertisementAccordingly, the DoPT has finalised the list of candidates for the post and sent it to the high- powered selection panel.Foremost among the officers recommended by the DoPT is outgoing home secretary G. K. Pillai. Pillai is to retire on June 30. Former DoPT secretary Shantanu Kansal, an officer with a formidable reputation, who was also secretary to the PM- appointed V. K. Shunglu committee to probe the Commonwealth Games scam, is too a part of the list. Former finance secretary Ashok Chawla too finds a mention as does Bijoy Chatterjee, secretary, chemicals and fertilizers whose name had figured in the panel suggested last time when Thomas was chosen by the government. The present DoPT secretary Alka Sirohi too finds a mention in the list.Former secretary, legislative affairs V. K. Bhasin too is part of the panel recommended by the DoPT, as is Vijaylakshmi Gupta, secretary, defence finance. Former urban development secretary M. Ramachandran who was also one of the frontrunners for the cabinet secretary’s post, also features in the panel.The list has been duly prepared by a secretary- level officer, as per the Supreme Court directions on the basis of rational criteria reflected by recording of reasons and noting akin to reasons by the empanelling authority. As there was confusion about whether the high- level selection panel was aware of the chargesheet against P. J. Thomas despite the leader of the Opposition mentioning this fact during the selection panel’s meeting, the parameters for selection, as well as the service files of the officers, are expected to be sent to the panel members this time.For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.