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Indian anti-corruption chief forced out

Thursday 3 March 2011 – by Will Henley

India’s Supreme Court has forced the resignation of the country’s anti-corruption tsar following allegations of corruption.

PJ Thomas, made chief vigilance commissioner by the government last year, was told that his appointment was unlawful, in a statement issued by the court on Thursday.

“We hereby declare the recommendation… does not exist in the eyes of law,” the court said.

“Consequently, the appointment of PJ Thomas as chief vigilance commissioner is quashed.”

The decision is a blow to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who publicly backed his commissioner at the Central Vigilance Commission despite the controversy.

Allegations concern alleged misconduct when Thomas was a senior official in the state of Kerala in 1992.

He is accused of accepting a contract to import palm oil at above-market prices, at extra expense for the state.

The Central Vigilance Commission is currently investigating claims of corruption in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games last year.

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