New Delhi, July 2: Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, an IIT alumnus and a veteran bureaucrat, was unanimously chosen Saturday as the next Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) to head India’s top anti-corruption watchdog, informed sources said here.
Kumar was selected by a three-member panel comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the sources said here.
Kumar’s selection came four months after the Supreme Court quashed the appointment of P.J. Thomas to the post as he faced corruption charge.
No official announcement has been made so far about Kumar but the sources said the 1972-batch Haryana cadre IAS officer had been picked. Kumar retires as defence secretary July 31.
‘The name has been finalised. The government will announce it. I have not raised any objection,’ Sushma Swaraj told reporters.
Known to be a man of few words, Kumar boasts of an impressive resume that includes important postings in key ministries.
He did his graduation in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi before joining the IAS in 1972. In 1986, he went to University of Wales, UK, on study leave to do a Masters in Economics and Social Sciences.
Kumar, who turns 62 on Sep 29, has also worked as joint secretary in the department of heavy industry, additional secretary in the ministry of coal, chairman, National Highways Authority of India and secretary (Disinvestment) in the ministry of finance.
He has also served on the boards of a number of leading companies including Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., Maruti Udyog Ltd., Andrew Yule Ltd., Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd., Coal India Ltd. and Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd.
Earlier, a list of probable candidates prepared by the Department of Personnel and Training was placed before the selection panel.
Other bureaucrats whose names figured in the list included former home secretary G.K. Pillai, former chemicals and fertilisers secretary Bijoy Chatterjee, former secretary of legislative affairs V.K. Bhasin and former urban development secretary M. Ramachandran.
On March 3, the Supreme Court quashed the appointment of Thomas as CVC amid a raging controversy and unveiled stringent guidelines for future appointment.
Thomas was selected in September 2010 as CVC by the prime minister and home minister, overruling Sushma Swaraj’s objection.