Amid several controversies surrounding the post of Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) director, the high-powered selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet on Wednesday at 6.30 pm to zero in on name for the coveted post. The meeting will be attended by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi or his nominee and Leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
On 24 January, the panel's talks remained inconclusive after meeting at the prime minister's residence. Reports had said that the panel had a list of 12 names shortlisted for the post of CBI head. However, four of these names are said to be the strongest contenders as the government intends to give the job to an experienced hand at a time when the agency's image has taken a beating following the bitter spat between former CBI director Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana.
The government has shortlisted these names based on their seniority, integrity, experience in investigating anti-corruption cases and most importantly, their experience of working with the CBI or handling vigilance matters. "The government does not want to take a chance this time, that's why they have shortlisted as many as dozen officers," a senior officer in the Prime Minister's Office told NDTV.
Among the officers, whose name are being discussed at the meeting, are JK Sharma and Parminder Rai from the 1982 batch — the senior most IPS officers but lacking experience in the CBI. Also in the list of front-runners is woman IPS officer Rina Mitra of the Madhya Pradesh-cadre. Here is a list of candidates who are most likely to be picked for the coveted post in India's premier investigating agency.
Parminder Rai, a Haryana-cadre officer is the Director General, State Vigilance Bureau, which makes him eligible for the post. His experience with the job will help him take over the reigns of CBI which is tasked with probing high-profile cases, alongside cases of corruption and fraud by central government officers. Rai is one of the senior most IPS officers in the country and he is set to retire on 31 January, 2019. However, if picked as the CBI chief, the current regulations mandate that Rai will complete the entire term in the office.
Special Secretary (Internal Security), Home Ministry, Rina Mitra of the 1983-batch is another strong contender for the post of CBI director. If picked, Mitra will be the first woman to head the CBI. She served in the CBI for five years and had a long tenure in Madhya Pradesh state vigilance where she handled serious corruption cases.
Mitra headed the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, an organisation tasked to combat organised wildlife crime, in its early years, they said, adding that if chosen, she would become the first woman chief of the CBI.
The Telegraph reported that Mitra's chances to land the job are particularly bright as she has a clean record, a non-controversial image and has experience of working in the CBI. That elevating her would shatter the glass ceiling is a big plus. A CBI officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the newspaper that government might want to "extract political capital" by appointing the first woman to lead the CBI.
YC Modi, a 1984-batch IPS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, is considered to be another favourite in the race to the top post in the CBI. He is currently the Director General of National Investigation Agency. He was part of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team which probed the 2002 riots in Gujarat from 2010 to 2012. The SIT had cleared Narendra Modi, who was then the chief minister of the state.
Modi was also part of the CBI team that probed the murder of former Gujarat minister Haren Pandya and arrested 12 accused. But the evidence was rejected by the Gujarat High Court which acquitted all the accused. Sources told NDTV, the Modi's chances were also bright because he is affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Current chief of National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences Javeed Ahmed, a 1984-batch IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, is amid the top contenders as he is one of the most experienced IPS officers in the fray. He has served the CBI for 13 years — starting as an SP and going up to the rank of DIG from 1994 to 2002 and as joint director from 2009-14.
He could not be promoted to post of Additional Director, CBI, as the then Home Secretary Anil Goswami had not cleared the empanelment file of the entire 1984-batch IPS officers till his term came to an end. Goswami was forced to resign for trying to stall the arrest of a former Union minister in a case, sources in the government told PTI.
Ahmed was posted as Uttar Pradesh DGP and he led many initiatives like Twitter outreach campaign, UP100 and special help line for women.
Amid other contenders are OP Galhotra, former Rajasthan DGP, who is the second most experienced officer in CBI on the list. Closely following Ahmed in terms of experience, Galhotra has served in the agency for 11 years — as an SP from 1996-2000 and as a Joint Director from 2008-15, the officials said. HC Awasthy, Galhotra's batchmate from the UP cadre, also served in the agency for over eight years, they said.
Director General of CISF Rajesh Ranjan, a 1984-batch Bihar cadre officer, has served in the agency for nearly five years and also in Interpol. He was never inducted into the CBI after 2011 as there were "vigilance issues", officials told PTI but didn't expand on the matter.
BSF Director General Rajni Kant Mishra, a 1984-batch officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre is also being considered a front-runner for the post of the CBI Director. He is retiring in August, 2019 and had served for nearly five years in the agency.
Another contender DG Indo-Tibetan Border Police SS Deshwal has five years' experience of working in the CBI, they said.
Arun Kumar, a 1985-batch officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, who led the first CBI team that probed the Aarushi case, is also in the race. The report prepared by him indicting three servants of the Talwars in the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case was rejected by the then CBI chief Ashwani Kumar as he was not convinced by the evidence.
Other contenders from the 1985-batch include Rishi Raj Singh and Loknath Behera from Kerala cadre who have around 6 and 10 years' of experience in the CBI respectively. Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik has also been shortlisted but he lacks experience in the agency, the government sources said adding that experience in the vigilance unit of the state compensates it.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jan 30, 2019 11:02:26 IST