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Will Justice Sikri represent CJI in PM-headed panel to appoint CBI chief?

New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) After the ouster of CBI Director Alok Verma by a high-powered selection committee that included CJI-nominated Supreme Court judge A.K. Sikri, rumours are doing the rounds whether he would again be part of the panel which is to meet on January 24 to decide the fate of three or four Director General-level IPS officers for the agency’s top post.

Sources close with the happenings expressed apprehension that Sikri will again participate in the three-member panel in place of Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi that will decide the final name of 28th Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director which is selected based on the Central Vigilance Commission Act 2003, and has a two-year term.

The panel, besides Modi, includes the leader of single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha and the CJI.

An officer in the Law Ministry, requesting anonymity, said the current situation suggests that CJI will be present in the selection committee but he could not rule out the possibility of Justice Sikri’s being again nominated for the task.

Against the backdrop of Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s demand for immediate convening of the meeting to choose a successor to Verma, the government took the decision to hold the selection committee’s meeting on January 24 to finalise the name of next CBI Director.

Kharge, who dissented when it decided to remove Verma as CBI director, on Tuesday demanded the immediate appointment of a new chief and opposed the return of M. Nageswara Rao as interim director.

Two days after he was conditionally reinstated by the Supreme Court as the CBI Director, Verma was on January 10 again removed from the agency by the high-powered selection committee.

The date for the meeting of the selection committee also took shape when the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) completed its scrutiny of three-four names among a list of 12 Indian Police Service (IPS) officers that included one from 1982 batch, four from 1983, six from 1984 and one from 1985 batch.

Ten IPS officers are said to be in the list but two more names were added as probable candidates for the new CBI chief’s post.

The two new names included Gujarat DGP Shivanand Jha, a 1983-batch IPS of Bihar cadre, and J.K. Sharma, a 1982-batch AGMUT cadre officer, who has worked has DG Tihar.

Sharma, who was facing probe for allegedly holding assets disproportionate to his income, was given a clean chit by a Delhi court in November last year.

The other IPS officers in the race are believed to be Mumbai Police Commissioner Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, a 1985-batch IPS officer; Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police O.P. Singh and National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief Y.C. Modi, informed sources said.

By seniority, 1983 batch IPS Rina Mitra, who is currently the Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Union Home Ministry, and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar may get the chance to head the federal agency.

Some prominent names from the 1984 batch, including National Security Guard (NSG) Director General Sudeep Lakhtakia, Bureau of Police Research and Development chief A.P. Maheshwari, Director of National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences S. Javeed Ahmed, Border Security Force (BSF) Director General Rajnikant Mishra and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) chief S.S. Deswal, are also in the running.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])



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