The leaders of the Opposition in both houses of Parliament have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to cancel the appointment of the new CBI director Ranjit Sinha, saying it was unfair for the government to appoint him days before the adoption of the Select Committee’s draft report on the Lokpal bill, which set out an entirely new process in this regard.
The Select Committee is learnt to have recommended that the CBI chief be appointed by a collegium comprising of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India.
Technically, the government was not wrong to have appointed Ranjit Sinha under current law, especially given the fact that the Lokpal Bill has not been passed. But the BJP is arguing that the government was morally incorrect in deciding to appoint the director days ahead of the tabling of the Lokpal Bill.
Sinha was appointed on 22 November.
BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said that the government ought to have waited a month or so and appointed the new director in accordance with the provisions set out in the Lokpal.
“This is a new low in relations between the government and opposition. Our trust in them has completely broken down”, he told Times Now .
The BJP demand is being backed by IAC activist Prashant Bhushan and Team Anna member Kiran Bedi, who were instrumental in last years hugely popular Jan Lokpal agitation. Both told Times Now that though the government was technically within its right to appoint Sinha, their actions showed that they were not serious in fighting corruption and were still seeking to manipulate the premier investigative agency in the country.
Meanwhile responding to the latest development, Minister of state V Narayanasamy hit out at the Opposition saying that there was no question of political unfairness.
“As far as the procedure has been followed by the government is that the CVC has to sit and finalize the names. CVC sat and discussed and finalised three names. Ultimately the Prime Minister has the authority to decide and in his wisdom chose Ranjit Sinha in a fair manner, following the due process. Where is the question of unfairness in this? The BJP is not acting like a responsible Opposition party. For them it is, my way or the highway”, he said.
Congress minister Sandeep Dikshit said, “If you politicise every post how is governance supposed to happen? CBI chief post is not a political post.”