Retired Indian Administrative Officer Sanjay Kothari on Saturday took oath as the chief vigilance commissioner. President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office to Kothari at a ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi.

The event was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and other senior officials in accordance with social distancing measures during the extended lockdown to rein in the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Kothari, the 1978-batch retired IAS officer of Haryana cadre, was secretary to the president before being selected as the chief vigilance commissioner in February. Kothari’s selection was opposed by Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a member of the selection committee, who sent two dissenting notes to the prime minister in March.

The Central Information Commission, which is a transparency watchdog and the final appeal body under the Right to Information Act, has been chronically understaffed. In the absence of commissioners, the process of clearing Right to Information complaints and appeals have been hampered.

Last month, the Centre had appointed former Indian Administrative Service officer Bimal Julka as the chief information commissioner. The office of the chief information commissioner had been lying vacant for almost two months after its former chief Sudhir Bhargava retired on January 11.