Decision on new CBI chief expected on Saturday

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New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) A decision on a new CBI Director to replace ousted Alok Verma is expected on Saturday with discussion taking place on Friday at meeting of the high-level selection panel at the residence of of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The meeting was attended by other members of the panel, including Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Mallikarjun Kharge, who is leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha.

Kharge later said that the decision will be taken tomorrow.

“Tomorrow it will happen. Whether it (meeting) happens or not, but decision will be taken tomorrow ,” he told reporters.

He was asked if another meeting of the selection panel will take place on Saturday.

Asked if a decision will be taken on Saturday, he said “most probably”.

He refused to give reasons for the panel not having taken a decision on Friday, saying “it is a confidential discussion.”

Kharge said he will speak after a decision is announced.

“I will speak at 1 pm tomorrow,” he said.

Asked if there was a disagreement over the name of 1983-batch Gujarat cadre police officer Shivanand Jha, Kharge said, “I don’t know.”

Asked further that there is a rumor that government was pushing for a Gujarat cadre officer and he did not agree with it, Kharge said, “that may be one perception.”

The last meeting of the selection panel on January 24 had remained inconclusive.

Earlier in the day, the Centre informed the Supreme Court about the evening meeting to select a new Director of Central Bureau of Investigation.

Its response came to the apex court’s question as to how long the present situation in the CBI will continue.

A Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Naveen Sinha told the Centre that the post of CBI Director was sensitive and that the government should have appointed a regular director by now.

The bench was hearing a petition by NGO Common Cause challenging the appointment of M. Nageswara Rao as the CBI interim chief following the removal of former Director Alok Verma under controversial circumstances.

The bench said the process of appointment should have been over by now as it was already known that Verma was going to retire in January.

About 60-70 candidates were discussed in the last meeting of the selection panel and Kharge asked for details relating to seniority and batch of all the candidates in a combined list.

The high-level committee had earlier removed Verma as CBI chief by making him the Director General, Fire Services, Civil Services and Home Guard which he refused to accept.

Verma and Central Bureau of Investigation Special Director Rakesh Asthana were sent on forced leave on October 23 after their fight became public. Both the officials had levelled allegations of bribery against each other.

–IANS

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