Rishi Kumar Shukla, with no experience in CBI, appointed Director
Barely 3 days after he was shifted out as Director General of Police, MP, Rishi Kumar Shukla on Saturday was appointed the new director of CBI, bypassing officers who have worked in the CBI earlier
Barely three days after being removed as Director General of Police in Madhya Pradesh, IPS officer Rishi Kumar Shukla was on Saturday notified as the new Director of Central Bureau of Investigation.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, it is reported, was unhappy at the poor law and order situation in the state and Shukla’s handling of policing. While Shukla was posted back to Police Housing Corporation, a windfall awaited him as the Union Government appointed him to the sensitive post of Central Bureau of Investigation.
Shukla is believed to be close to several BJP leaders including former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and is known to be sympathetic to the Right-wing. One of the reasons why he was deemed to be a frontrunner was because of his perceived proximity to BJP national president Amit Shah.
His appointment has raised eyebrows because Shukla has no experience of working in the Central Bureau of Investigation. When Alok Verma was appointed CBI Director in 2016, it was widely criticised then for Verma too had no experience of having worked in the agency. His inexperience was also blamed for his subsequent standoff with the Special Director, Rakesh Asthana.
In appointing Shukla, the Government ignored the claims of both Javeed Ahmed of the UP cadre, who has 13 years working experience in the CBI and who worked as Joint Director (Policy) as well as of Rajnikant Mishra, DG, BSF, who served the CBI for six years in relatively junior positions.
What is more, the Supreme Court had put in place the process of a high-powered committee to select the CBI director in order to ensure that the agency remains relatively independent of the Government. Shukla’s appointment proves that the Government has had its way in placing as CBI Director a person of its preference.
According to sources within the Government, the selection panel comprising the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, in its meeting with the Prime Minister on Friday evening, endorsed a list of five IPS officers and allowed the Government to choose one of them.
If these reports are correct, then the entire purpose of having a selection panel stands defeated. The idea of having a panel was that the Government would shortlist officers of its choice and indicate the basis of its preference. It would then be for the other two members of the panel, the two non-government members, to weigh in and recommend an officer who would be more impartial and independent.
The newly appointed CBI director was in the news last year when he publicly criticised the judiciary and declared that judges were interpreting laws as per their own whims.
Shukla was then quoted as saying, "Judges have started interpreting laws according to their desire. We were taught that the law is blind, and Judge should conduct in a fair manner but nowadays, their biases and prejudices are sharply reflected in the legal procedure today. These are challenging times."
It remains to be seen if he maintains the impartiality and independence of his office in his new assignment.