It is shameful that the UPA Government should have taken recourse to misleading the Supreme Court in such a brazen manner while defending the decision of the Prime Minister to appoint Mr PJ Thomas as the Central Vigilance Commissioner. It was common knowledge even before the three-member committee (comprising the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Leader of the Opposition) that selects the CVC had met that Mr Thomas, one of the three bureaucrats short-listed for the job, was among those accused of involvement in the palmolein import scandal and had a criminal case pending against him. When the committee met to select the CVC, this point was raised by Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj but was brushed aside by the Prime Minister who was determined to appoint Mr Thomas; the Home Minister expectedly concurred with the choice. Ms Swaraj had no other option but to record her dissent, which she did. Between then and now, there have been innumerable stories about Mr Thomas's alleged involvement in the palmolein import scandal; how his former boss K Karunakaran had stalled court proceedings; how the stay now stands vacated following the latter's death; and how, despite such a major charge pending against him, the former Telecom Secretary had risen through the bureaucratic ranks, thanks to the Congress. After stoutly defending Mr Thomas's appointment and mocking at the judiciary for raising questions about his 'suitability', the Attorney-General has now told the Supreme Court that this crucial information was not mentioned on the note circulated among the selection committee members. That's hogwash. The Department of Personnel and Training, which reports to the Prime Minister, has full records of each and every bureaucrat. If the note did not record Mr Thomas being chargesheeted in the palmolein import scandal — fresh information suggests facts were indeed excised — then the DoPT as well as the Prime Minister owe an explanation. It is absolutely stunning that the Prime Minister should feign ignorance every time he is caught on the wrong foot. When the 2G Spectrum scam was exposed, we were told that the Prime Minister was unaware of what was happening in the Telecom Ministry or what his Cabinet colleague was up to. That claim now lies in tatters. Similarly, finding that he has painted himself into a corner over Mr Thomas's appointment as CVC by insisting that he alone should get the job and not any other bureaucrat with an unblemished service record, the Prime Minister has done what he does best: He has once again claimed that he was unaware of facts. What, then, is the Prime Minister aware of? Does he even know what's happening in the Government he heads? Is he aware of the shenanigans of Ministers who presumably report to him? Or is it that he is just not bothered and couldn't care less? This increasingly appears to be true. Secure in the belief that, given his image of being a man of unimpeachable integrity, he will get the benefit of doubt no matter how serious the allegation, the Prime Minister seems to have convinced himself that he can fool the nation not once or twice, but all the time. Mr Thomas should not be spared and made to quit the CVC's office. But the Prime Minister shouldn't be spared either: He must explain his conduct.