NEW DELHI — Noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani announced his 'break-up' with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter, saying that he had no respect left for him after he disagreed with the government's choice of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, the country's top anti-corruption watchdog.
Jethmalani, who had been expelled from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in 2013, had strongly supported Modi's election last year. But he took exception to the appointment of KV Chowdary as the CVC, and has questioned his credentials for the role. "My diminishing respect for you ends today," Jethmalani said in the letter to Modi, which was also posted on Twitter.
Chowdary is the first officer who is not from the Indian Administrative Service, the cadre from which CVCs have been appointed since 1964. He belongs to the Indian Revenue Service, and is currently working as an adviser to the Special Investigation Team formed by the Supreme Court to unearth black money. Before that he was the chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes until October last year.
Prashant Bhushan of Aam Aadmi Party had also questioned Chowdary's appointment, alleging that his investigation in the 2G scam had not led anywhere, and that he was also involved in a scam in the stock market. Jethmalani had written a letter to both Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee about his concerns. Those letters were apparently not heeded and Chowdary's appointment was approved by Mukherjee yesterday.
Opposition parties had criticized the government for not filling the post of CVC earlier, after the last incumbent retired in September.
Jethmalani also said that he will pursue this matter legally. "Now we shall fight out in the Supreme Court and the court of the people of India," he said in the letter.
(With agency inputs)