The Modi government is at it again. Despite Mallikarjun Kharge asking for a list of shortlisted candidates for selection as Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sufficiently in advance, he has been sent a list of all eligible candidates, that is IPS officers of 1983, 1984 and 1985 batches. Over 90 names figure in the list.
“I have not got any list with the names of the shortlisted candidates. The list I have has almost 90 names, their retirement date and their empanelment. It doesn’t have their experience, where they worked or the kind of cases they have handled,” pointed out Kharge. It is anyone’s guess if Justice Gogoi has gotten the list with shortlisted candidates.
“How am I supposed to select candidates from this list without any knowledge. We need time to go through the list. I will go to the meeting and see what transpires there,” emphasised Kharge.
The shortlist, meanwhile, appears to have been made available to select media houses and the names of four frontrunners, namely Y.C. Modi, Rajnikant Mishra, Rajesh Ranjan and Rina Mitra, have been doing the rounds.
There are media reports quoting sources in the PMO that the government has shortlisted 12 candidates based on their seniority, integrity and experience in both the CBI and probing anti-corruption cases. The list clearly has not been shared with the panel.
Mr Kharge, who along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi is member of the three-member selection panel, told NH that the list sent to him has no detail other than the name, the date of joining the service and the date of superannuation.
When the panel had met earlier this month to decide the fate of the then Director, CBI, Alok Verma, who had been reinstated by the Supreme Court after being on forced leave for 77 days, Mr Kharge had complained that the Government had not made the CVC report against Verma available to the panel. He had also insisted that Verma be given an opportunity to present his version to the panel. He was overruled then.
According to a news report on NDTV, the shortlisted names include 1983 batch officer Shivanand Jha, who is serving as DGP Gujarat, BSF Director General Rajnikant Mishra, CISF Director General Rajesh Ranjan, Director General NIA YC Modi and Mumbai Police Commissioner Subodh Jaiswal.
Additionally, a report on Outlook has the names Rina Mitra (1983-batch), Javeed Ahmed (1984 batch), Om Prakash Galhotra (1985-batch), Arun Kumar (1985-batch), Rishi Raj Singh and Loknath Behera from Kerala cadre and Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik.
It does seem that the Modi government is transferring several officials not friendly to the government. The interim CBI chief M Nageswara Rao, whose appointment has been challenged in the Supreme Court, has transferred a total of 40 officers in the CBI.
The CBI has stated: "The transfers were carried out to cleanse and purge the organisation and restore the internal checks and balances and to strengthen it."
Mr Kharge, leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, had on January 16 written a letter to the PM demanding a meeting of the selection committee be convened immediately to appoint a director without any further delay and that the minutes of the last meeting of the selection committee be made public.