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Biography of Vittal offers glimpses of a thinker

Staff Reporter

His tenure as Chief Vigilance Commissioner recalled

CHENNAI: Launching a biography of former Chief Vigilance Commissioner N.Vittal here on Monday, N.Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu , said such books gave a glimpse into lives of men who fought for transparency in the system.

Talking about corruption and poor administration were important, though little had changed in the system that continued to shield some people, particularly the VIPs, "who were provided immunity from proper investigation under the law of the land." The odds were against the honest, Mr.Ram said. He cited the Bofors case as an example where investigations were less than honest. "The executive branch continues to interfere in overt and covert ways."

What had attracted him to Mr.Vittal was his handling of the Telecom sector long before the hype about IT began. Mr.Ram recalled Mr. Vittal's tenure as Chief Vigilance Commissioner and said superintending the straightness of the CBI was as difficult a job as checking corruption.

The book, `Saadhanayaalar N. Vittal', was easily accessible and dealt only with a small part of Mr.Vittal's life. However, it allowed a glimpse of a man who was a thinker.

Mr.Ram called for more such books that would prompt a discussion.

Mr.Vittal said for him the positions he occupied were a learning experience. "The strength of an IAS officer is his ignorance." It allowed him to learn to function better. His long experience in the Government taught him that each individual had something to give that could bring joy.

A close associate of Mr.Vittal and former civil servant of the Gujarat cadre, G.Sundaram, said Mr.Vittal believed in transparency and putting politicians in their place.

Charukesi, the author, shared his experiences in writing the book.

The programme was organised by Madras Book Club.

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