No meeting called as yet to appoint CBI Director

<b>The Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and leader of largest Opposition party in Lok Sabha are not meeting on Dec 26 to appoint the next CBI Director, as media had reported</b>

Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images


Contrary to media reports, the Government has not convened any meeting so far to appoint a full-time and permanent Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Media reports had earlier suggested quoting official sources that the three-member committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the largest party in the Lok Sabha would be meeting on Monday, December 26.

However Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, on Friday denied receiving any official intimation about the meeting so far. Speaking to National Herald over the phone from his constituency, Kharge said that he doubted the seriousness of the Government to hold the meeting before the retirement of the present CJI TS Thakur in the first week of January.

Before leaving New Delhi, said Kharge, he had an opportunity to speak to the CJI who had indicated that he was planning to go on a vacation preceding his retirement. Nor has the Government sent him the list of shortlisted officers found eligible for the appointment. He confirmed that he has not received any response to either of the two letters he had addressed to the Prime Minister on the subject, one demanding that the meeting of the committee be convened and another demanding that notes on the shortlisted officers be circulated well in advance and not just ahead of the meeting or in the meeting itself.

Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
The government appointed Rakesh Asthana, an IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre, as Acting Director of the CBI on December 2

The Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT) had initiated the process, however, way back in June this year when it invited names of eligible officers to fill up the vacancy to be caused by the retirement of Anil Kumar Sinha as Director, CBI on December 2.

The DOPT had shortlisted 39 names of IPS officers belonging to the 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982 batches. They were then vetted by a panel consisting of among others the Chief Vigilance Commissioner and the Home Secretary which whittled down the list to six officers.

While Krishna Chaudhary ( 1979), Director General of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Alok Kumar Verma (1979), Police Commissioner, Delhi headed the panel, the panel also had the name of Rupak Dutta (1981), Special Director, CBI and the senior-most officer in the organisation who was transferred to the Home Ministry barely two days before Sinha retired. Besides the panel named Archana Ramasundaram (1980) , Director General Sashashtra Seema Bal (SSB), SC Mathur (1981), DG, Maharashtra and Meeran Borwankar (1981) , Director General Bureau of Police Research & Development ( BPRD).

The Government, however, shifted out Rupak Dutta and made Rakesh Asthana (1984), the then Additional Director, CBI as the Acting Director of the CBI.

Dutta had spent over 15 years in the CBI and was the senior-most officer in the CBI with deep understanding and knowledge of the CBI and its working. But the Government has argued that his services were required in the Home Ministry and that he had been put in charge of overseeing counter-insurgency operations, which are equally important.

While Rakesh Asthana remains far too junior to be considered for appointment as Director, CBI, the Government appears to be biding for time so that it can push an officer of its choice. Significantly, among the 15 senior-most IPS officers in the country are also two controversial IPS officers of the Gujarat cadre, both belonging to the 1980 batch, PC Thakur and PP Pandey.

Read our related coverage of the appointment on the next CBI director:

Rajesh Asthana IPS is CBI  ‘acting director’

Kharge: Process of selecting Director, CBI has been vitiated

Congress: BJP skewed processes to appoint interim CBI chief

Vishwa Deepak is Correspondent at National Herald

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