Former Anti-Corruption Body Head Joins Reliance As An Independent Director
Just four months after retirement, former Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), has been appointed as an independent director on the board of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), The Economic Times reported.
This is not the first post-retirement job for K V Chowdary, who retired as the CVC on June 9, this year. On June 25, almost a month later, he took over as a director on the board of CCL Products (India) Limited.
The CVC Act says a retired Central Vigilance Commissioner cannot take up a diplomatic assignment or for-profit government office. But it doesn’t restrict them from taking up a private job. The Act also doesn’t demand a cooling-off period or whether any permission has to be sought before taking up a private-sector job.
RIL confirmed the appointment in a stock exchange filing late on Friday night.
“Pursuant to Regulation 30 of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Regulations, 2015, please note that the Board of Directors at its meeting held today, i.e. October 18, 2019, has appointed Shri K V Chowdary as the Additional Director-Non-Executive,” it said.
It established that Chowdary was not related to any director of the company.
“Following the circular dated June 20, 2018, issued by the stock exchanges, we now confirm that Shri K V Chowdary, is not debarred from holding the office of director by virtue of any Sebi order or any other such authority,” it said.
Why Was Chowdary’s Tenure Interesting?
K V Chowdary has held important positions in the current government as he was the head of the anti-corruption body (Central Vigilance Committee) and the first head of the tax department.
He was made the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in August 2014. When he retired from that post, he was appointed as an advisor to the Department of Revenue on issues relating to black money, before being made the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) in 2015, a post he held until June 2019.
Chowdary’s tenure has been quite eventful and interesting due to his high profile investigations.
When he was the Chief Vigilance Commissioner last year, the Supreme Court directed the CVC to investigate the high profile complaints into former CBI chief Alok Verma. This was the beginning of the conflict between Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana.
In January this year, the opposition demanded his removal from the CVC blaming him for favouring Rakesh Asthana.
Chowdary’s time at the tax department also overlapped with appearance of the Sahara-Birla papers, the documents that allegedly contained evidence on big corporations bribing very powerful politicians across the political space.
Chowdary’s appointment at CVC was also challenged in the Supreme Court, but the court eventually dismissed that case.
Chowdary’s appointment to RIL now poses questions on the independence of the institutions he headed during his tenure and also questions the conscience of the anti-corruption and revenue department.