New Delhi: Selection of Ranjit Sinha as CBI director was "faulty" even when courts had made negative remarks against him, former CBI chief PC Sharma on Tuesday said.
"The former director's selection was very faulty. People knew his past background. People even knew about court's observation in his case. Oral observations were made about him (by the courts)...Yet he was inducted as Director CBI.
"We talk about independent processes. No matter how rigorous and independent the process of selection is, but if the man at the top is not the right kind of a person he can shame the entire organisation. But if you have the right kind of a person, he can cast the organisation in his own image," Sharma, who was the Director of CBI from 2001–2003, said without taking Sinha's name.
Sinha, a controversial CBI chief, is being probed in connection with the coal scam case. He said it was necessary to shame the corrupt officers, irrespective of whether he is a constable or a director as it must reach the authorities who make "mistake" in selecting officers.
He, however, said CBI was not the "fall guy" as perceived by many people in the country. "CBI is certainly not the fall guy it has been made to be. There are often allegations that the agency works under political pressure but even if some people may succumb to pressure, there are also those who withstand pressure," Sharma said at a panel discussion on 'CBI X-Rayed' organised by Delhi Administration Officers' Academic Forum..
The agency can do "still better" with an impartial selection of its top officers including the director, Sharma said. Talking about general "ignorance" about the functioning of CBI, he said that most people did not know how the agency worked which was there in its manual and anybody could read it.
Sharma also rejected the idea of an "internal cadre" for the central agency, saying a mix of officers from different fields suited the nature of work which entailed investigation of pan-India cases.
Former special director of CBI ML Sharma expressed similar views and said the agency could be criticised but it was not correct to "condemn" it.
One of the "problem areas" is that the agency had 77 branches all over the country and just 1,400 men with which it was supposed to do justice with all the cases assigned to it, he said.
"Even out of those 1,400 posts 40 percent were vacant. The agency requires at least 5,000 investigating officers of the rank of inspectors and deputy superintendents," ML Sharma said.
"Excessive work load is another problem area and the agency works as a fire fighting agency with many cases assigned to it by the constitutional courts of the country. This excessive load is being given by the constitutional courts. Sometimes, I say that the constitutional courts are killing CBI by love. Excessive load is creating lot of problems including deterioration in quality of work," he said.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Anil Divan too targeted the agency, saying the "public sentiment" was that CBI is not "independent" and suggested bypassing "political element" in selection of director of the central agency and the Central Vigilance Commission.