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Wednesday, September 2, 1998
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Vittal made new Chief Vigilance Commissioner

NEW DELHI, Sept 1 (PTI) — The government tonight appointed Mr N. Vittal, Chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board, as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), a week after conferring the statutory status on the Central Vigilance Commission and making it a multi-member body.

Mr Vittal, a former Telecom Secretary, was appointed by President K.R. Narayanan in pursuance of the recommendations of a high-level committee comprising Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Home Minister L.K. Advani and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Mr Sharad Pawar.

The government also notified the formal constitution of the Central Vigilance Commission under the CVC Ordinance, which was issued on August 25.

Mr Vittal, who could not be contacted for comments as he was out of station, would have a term of four years from the date on which he assumed office, a Home Ministry spokesman said.

The formation of the commission paved the way for the appointment or confirmation of the chiefs of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The Ordinance, issued in compliance with the Supreme Court's directions in the hawala case, provides for a multi-member body consisting of a Chief Vigilance Commissioner, three vigilance commissioners and Secretary (Personnel) who will be the ex-officio member.

According to the Ordinance, the commissioners will have the power of monitoring, superintendence and control over the CBI.

The commission has been empowered to order enquiry, either suo motu, or by the CBI or by the central vigilance officers of various departments. It has also been given the power to call for reports on anti-corruption from any department and tender advise on all departmental cases.

According to the Ordinance, the commission will also advise the government over various anti-corruption measures.

The Ordinance also amended the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, which covers the CBI, to provide for a minimum two-year tenure for the CBI Director whose selection would be made by an independent committee, comprising the CVC, the Union Home Secretary and the Secretary (Personnel).

Apart from the CBI Director, the Ordinance also provides for the appointment of the ED Director for a minimum period of two years.

The erstwhile Gujral Government had last September set up a three-member committee, comprising former Cabinet Secretary B.G. Deshmukh, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister N.N. Vohra, and the then CVC, Mr S.V. Giri, to examine the structure and functioning of the CBI and the ED.

The committee has gone into issues such as enabling the CBI and the ED to function with a certain degree of autonomy, giving them adequate powers and protecting them from any kind of interference.back

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