CBI chief selection: In dissent note, Adhir Ranjan questions conduct of DoPT

Congress leader asked for deferment of meeting of High Powered Committee

The conduct of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has been “obnoxious” in trying to organise the selection procedure of a new CBI director and the meeting of the selection panel should be deferred, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said in a dissent note that was submitted to the high-powered selection committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Chief Justice of India NV Ramana is the other member of the committee that decides on CBI chief appointment.

Objecting to the manner in which DoPT — the nodal ministry for all important positions in the Central institutions — had shortlisted 16 names out of a list of 109 Indian Police Service (IPS) officers at the ‘eleventh hour,’ Mr. Chowdhury batted for cancelling the Monday meeting.

However, as the CBI didn’t have a full-time director since February, the panel decided to go ahead with the meeting.

The 16 names, whose dossiers were sent to the committee members on the day of the meeting, included present chief of the Border Security Force (BSF) Rakesh Asthana [Gujarat cadre:1984 batch] and the National Investigation Agency chief YC Modi [Assam-Meghalaya:1984 batch], both considered as favourite officers of the ruling dispensation.

However, as The Hindu reported on Monday, they were excluded, as the CJI insisted on sticking to a rule that said a candidate should have six months or more for retirement.

The committee eventually shortlisted three officers — VSK Kaumudi [Andhra Pradesh:86 batch], Kumar Rajesh Chandra [Bihar:85 batch] and Subodh Kumar Jaiswal [Maharashtra:85 batch] — from among whom one will be appointed as the new CBI chief.

Seeks absolute transparency

In his dissent note, Mr. Chowdhury cited the Supreme Court judgement in the Anjali Bharadwaj versus Union of India case concerning the appointment of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and argued for absolute transparency in the selection procedure of the CBI chief.

“The DoPT has no statutory backing to pick and forward only select names to the Selection Committee. Moreover, it seems, the DoPT, which is directly under the control of the Central Government, is deliberately trying to sabotage the purpose of this High Powered Selection Committee. The above conduct of the DoPT is most objectionable,” he said in his dissent note.

“In light of the above events and given the obnoxious conduct of the DoPT, this Committee, now must be extra vigilant and must undertake all necessary steps to ensure that the current process of appointment to the office of the CBI Director, is not marred by allegations of unfair scrutiny and non-transparency,” he added.

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