Opposed procedure of CBI chief appointment, Kharge tells Jaitley

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) Attacked by Union Minister Arun Jaitley for dissenting on appointment of Rishi Kumar Shukla as new CBI chief, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said his objections were on the procedure of appointment and called for making public the minutes of the selection panel meeting.

Jaitley on Sunday had accused Kharge of using the weapon of dissent “excessively” and not “objectively” a day after the Congress leader and member of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-headed selection committee had not supported Shukla’s appointment contending that the 1983-batch IPS officer did not have any experience in investigating anti-corruption cases.

Kharge also took pot shots at Jaitley over the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) transferring its officer investigating the ICICI-Videocon case soon after the BJP leader, in his blog, had rebuked the agency’s “investigative adventurism” in the case.

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“My objections were always on the procedure of appointment and never against an officer or his integrity. Once an officer has been appointed to serve in a particular office, I don’t believe we should continue to comment on them and I have not done that at any point of time in my near five decades of public service,” Kharge said in his letter to Jaitley publicised on Monday.

Kharge said that the meeting of the February 2 meeting of the panel should be made public to enable people to know if the issues raised by him had merit or not.

“Since neither you nor other ministers who respond on behalf of the Prime Minister are members of the Selection Committee, you may not be aware of the happenings thereof. It would be simpler if the government releases the minutes of the meeting and all relevant documents in the public domain so that the people know of the issues raised are of concern or not,” he said.

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He also said that the “value of the Prime Minister’s Office has been brought down” by

the way the government conducted the matter of CBI Director’s appointment and reiterated that Shukla’s appointment violated the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act which “explicitly calls for an officer to have experience in investigating anti-corruption cases”.

Reminding Jaitley of his recent blog post in which he had flayed the CBI for including the “entire who’s who of the banking industry” under its probe, Kharge said: “The strongest dissent note against the CBI and its functioning has been penned by you last week in the matter in which bank frauds were being investigated.”

“The CBI took your note seriously enough to transfer officers and stop investigations. But, dissent notes sent by me to the Prime Minister do not even get a response from him,” he added.

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–IANS

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