The Centre has elevated the senior-most information commissioner and former environment secretary, Vijai Sharma, as the chief information commissioner, a government release on Monday said.
The government also appointed former Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chief K.V. Chowdary as the head of the country’s top anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), and T.M. Bhasin, chairman and managing director of Indian Bank, as vigilance commissioner.
Chowdary is the first non-IAS officer to head the CVC since it was formed in 1964. An Indian Revenue Service officer, he is an advisor to the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team to check black money.
The government also appointed former secretary of social justice and empowerment Sudhir Bhargava as additional information commissioner. A 1979 batch IAS officer, he has also served as a special secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas.
The Central Information Commission (CIC), which is facing a severe backlog of cases, will now be an eight-member body, including the chief information commissioner. The transparency watchdog can accommodate four more information commissioners as the Right to Information (RTI) Act mandates that the body may have one CIC and a maximum of 10 information commissioners.
The appointments to CIC are for five years or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. Sharma, a 1974 batch IAS officer who has been serving as an information commissioner since 2012, will serve a term of less than six months as he will retire in December.
The CIC has been without a chief since August 2014, when chief information commissioner Rajiv Mathur retired.