Government keen to continue with Asthana as Director, CBI
Although IPS officers up to the 1982 batch are eligible to be appointed as Director, CBI, Government appears determined to continue with Rakesh Asthana as officiating Director for as long as possible
No meeting took place today of the three-member committee comprising the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Leader of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha to finalise the appointment of Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
National Herald had earlier reported that Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress Parliamentary Committee in the Lok Sabha, had not received any information from the Government about the meeting which had supposedly been convened on December 26.
Today’s development has reinforced the perception that the Government is in no hurry to appoint a full-time, permanent Director of CBI, although the process to fill up the vacancy caused by the retirement of Anil Kumar Sinha on December 2 had begun way back in July.
The Government instead seems determined to continue with Rakesh Asthana, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer of the 1984 batch, for as long as possible. This despite the fact that he is not eligible to become the Director, CBI since IPS officers senior to him and belonging to any of the four batches of 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982 are eligible for appointment.
The Government instead seems determined to continue with Rakesh Asthana, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer of the 1984 batch, for as long as possible. This despite the fact that he is not eligible to become the Director, CBI since IPS officers senior to him and belonging to any of the four batches of 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982 are eligible for appointment
The ‘natural successor’ to the outgoing CBI chief, Special Director Rupak Dutta was shifted to the Home ministry as Special Secretary (Internal security) just two days before Sinha’s retirement. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State at PMO, in a letter addressed to Kharge justified the transfer by saying that Dutta’s experience and expertise were required to handle ‘complex issues’ in the ministry.
Long time observers of CBI point out that it is highly unlikely for ‘complex issues’ to have arisen suddenly just ahead of the vacancy. Dutta’s transfer, they believe, was to ensure that the 1981 batch officer of the Karnataka cadre, who had spent 15 years in the CBI, did not become Director.
It remains to be seen how the Supreme Court, which had directed the Government against transferring officials involved in the investigation of the 2G and the coal blocks allocation scam, reacts to Dutta’s transfer.