The government, however, said it had gone by the recommendation of the chief justice of India.
In the Rajya Sabha, the entire opposition led by Manmohan Singh staged a walkout in protest against the appointment of Justice Venkataswami, a retired Supreme Court judge, as chairman of the Authority on Advance Ruling on Customs and Excise in May this year.
Expressing 'shock' at the appointment, the opposition said, "The very authority that is investigating the government is being given a job by the government."
In the Lok Sabha, the issue was raised during the question hour by Congress chief whip P R Dasmunshi, who said the appointment was 'highly prejudicial' to the Tehelka probe. Communist Party of India Marxist member Basudev Acharia supported his contention.
Responding to the members' concern, Union Finance Minister Jaswant Singh told both Houses that his ministry had written to the chief justice of India in September last year to nominate a retired judge of the court for the job.
The then chief justice, Singh said, recommended Venkataswami's name and the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet gave its approval in April this year.
"The finance ministry entirely went by the recommendation of the chief justice," Singh said.
But Manmohan Singh charged the government with showing disrespect to the system of checks and balances and violating all norms of constitutional propriety.
The Tehelka Scandal: Complete coverage
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