If opposition pressure was not enough in a season of scams, the Supreme Court too seems bent on holding the union government accountable for its decisions. Today, it cast doubts about the very appointment of Chief Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas, the country's top anti-corruption official.
Thomas was sworn in as CVC in September amid protests from the opposition, which claimed at the time that he was a tainted figure.
Thomas, till recently secretary in the 1union telecom ministry, which is at the centre of the 2G spectrum storm, was appointed CVC by a three-member panel comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, home minister P Chidambaram, and leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
Chief Justice S H Kapadia questioned the nomination of a man who was charged by police over his role in an alleged palm oil import scam in Kerala, during a legal challenge to Thomas's appointment.
"When he works as the CVC he will deal with corruption matters. There will be an allegation against him every time. How will he function?" Kapadia asked. "In every matter he deals with, he will face embarrassment, and under these circumstances we want to know if he will be able to function as CVC."
As CVC, Thomas is investigating a host of recently unearthed scandals, including those related to the Commonwealth Games and the allocation of 2G spectrum. Police charged Thomas in 2000 over his role in allegedly fraudulent imports of palm oil from Malaysia while he worked as a secretary in the Kerala state government in the 1990s. He has not been prosecuted.