The BJP on Thursday used Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's favourite quote of Caesar's wife being above suspicion to demand that he "introspect" over the chief vigilance commissioner controversy and inform the nation whether he was "misled or allowed himself to be misled" on PJ Thomas' appointment.
"Leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj has vindicated herself by expressing dissent (on Thomas's appointment). The responsibility lies with the prime minister and the home minister. The prime ministe should introspect on whether he was misled or allowed himself to be misled," senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.
The selection panel for choosing the CVC comprises the prime minister, home minister and leader of opposition in Lok Sabha. During the meeting to choose Thomas, when Swaraj said Thomas had a case pending against him in the Palmolein import scam home minister P Chidambaram had reportedly told her that he had been cleared in the matter.
After the Supreme Court judgment, Jaitley said that the person occupying the CVC post should have a "spotless record".
"The appointment of Thomas was vitiated due to non-application of mind," he added.
The prime minister is expected to make a statement in Parliament on the issue. BJP sources said the party is waiting for the PM's statement before it responds further.
The BJP, which in the recent past never lost any opportunity to demand the PM's resignation, today refrained from it.
"PM often says Caesar's wife must be above suspicion. Now that Supreme Court has quashed the appointment of CVC on the ground that relevant information relating to his involvement in a corruption case was ignored, the country is certainly entitled to know on what benchmark he is going to judge himself," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
The BJP alleged that the UPA government wanted a "pliant" CVC as the 2-G scam is under investigation by the CBI and the CVC exercises a decisive influence and monitoring over the investigating agency. After today's verdict the government stands "indicted", the party said.
"The appointment of CVC was done by this government in which the prime minister has a direct role to play. The country is entitled to know as to what was the coalition compulsion behind the appointment of Thomas," Prasad said, referring to recent statement of Singh on why A Raja was given telecom ministry.
Welcoming the SC judgment, BJP said it has restored the dignity of the office of CVC and upheld the "rule of law and democratic propriety".
"Integrity and independence are the most important qualities for appointment to the post of CVC. Integrity particularly is indeed very significant because the CVC is the most important institution in monitoring and inquiry into cases of corruption," Prasad said.