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Ignoring ''dissent'', govt names former MP police chief Rishi Kumar Shukla as CBI director
 
(New Delhi, Feb 02,2019):Ending speculation, the government on Saturday appointed former Madhya Pradesh Police chief Rishi Kumar Shukla as the director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), weeks after the controversial removal of Alok Kumar Verma from the post. The appointment came amid Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who was part of the three-member selection panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raising objection. Shukla, a 1983 batch IPS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, will have a fixed tenure of two years, an order issued by Personnel Ministry said.

He is at present working as the chairman of Madhya Pradesh Police Housing Corporation in Bhopal after being removed from the post of director general of Madhya Pradesh Police a few days ago by the Congress government in the state. Shukla will take charge from M Nageshwara Rao, who is working as the interim chief of the probe agency following ouster of Verma. Shukla has never worked in the CBI. The appointment of Shukla triggered a fresh war of words between the government and the opposition party. Kharge sent a dissent note to the prime minister, alleging that the selection criterion was diluted in violation of law and Supreme Court judgements.

However, Union minister Jitendra Singh claimed that Kharge tried to "manipulate" the criteria with the ulterior motive of accommodating some of his preferred officers. Kharge also accused the government of diluting the selection criteria mentioned in the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, that governs the functioning of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Speaking to PTI, Singh rubbished Kharge''s charges, saying that the Congress leader tried to include the names of some of his preferred officers in the short-listed candidates for the CBI chief''s job. The minister said Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who is also the member of the committee, fully endorsed the objective criteria applied for selecting the head of the CBI.

Singh, whose Personnel Ministry is the nodal department for the CBI, said the selection was made in the objective criteria based on seniority, service record and the experience in anti-corruption/investigation areas. On the contrary, Singh said, "We have reasons to find fault in the manner Kharge is conducting himself in meeting after meeting violating all the norms of propriety by speaking to media and giving his own version of deliberations happening in the high-powered panel''s meeting while deciding on the CBI chief. Incidentally, Kharge had given dissent note on the appointment of Verma two years ago. He had also objected to the removal of Verma from the CBI last month.

Shukla''s name was shortlisted during the second meeting of the selection committee held on Friday. The panel''s first meeting on January 24 had remained inconclusive. The Supreme Court had on Friday said it was "averse" to the arrangement of an interim CBI director and the Centre should "immediately" appoint a regular chief of the probe agency. The post of CBI director is "sensitive" and "important", and it is not good to keep an interim director of the agency for longer period, the top court observed and sought to know as to why the government has not made the appointment yet. Verma was removed after being engaged in a bitter fight with Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana, who was then working as the special director in the probe agency, over corruption charges.

Both Verma and Asthana had accused each other of corruption. Verma, after being removed from the post of CBI director was named as the Director General of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards, a less significant portfolio. Verma did not accept the offer and wrote to the government, saying he should be considered as deemed superannuated as he has completed 60 years age of superannuation on July 31, 2017. He had taken over as the CBI chief on February 1, 2017 for a fixed two-year tenure that ended Thursday. Asthana has been moved out of the CBI and appointed director general of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).


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