New Delhi, Jan 28 (Agencies): Ending the speculations, the Central Government has asked tainted Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) PJ Thomas to step down from his post giving him 48 hours deadline after Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily discussed the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh late on Thursday.

The action followed after the Supreme Court questioned on the correct procedure during his appointment and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj decided to register an affidavit in the court.

The BJP slammed the Prime Minister over the selection of Thomas, claiming the "trail" leads to his door. The party termed as a "patent lie" the government statement in the court that its panel did not know that Thomas was charge sheeted in a corruption case of import of palm oil in Kerala in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, Moily said the government will explain in the court to the charges of the BJP and its senior leader Sushma Swaraj. Swaraj said she would register an affidavit in the Supreme Court soon.

Critisising Manmohan Singh, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Prime Minister "should explain the nation when he learnt that criminal prosecution was pending against Thomas in the palm oil import case".

Thomas was selected as the CVC in September last year by a panel including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidmabaram and Sushma Swaraj. Though Swaraj had given a written dissent, the commitee selected Thomas on a majority basis.

The Supreme Court Bench including Chief Justice SH Kapadia, Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar questioned: "What is the impact of this fact not being revealed to the committee? Doesn't it vitiate the entire decision making process (for the appointment of CVC)?"

Hearing a petition challenging Thomas' appointment as the CVC, the apex body sought to know whether the CVC was a constitutional post or a statutory post and what was the impact of the oath administered to the CVC by the president before assuming office.