National

Rishi Kumar Shukla appointed CBI Director

Director General of Madhya Pradesh Police Housing Corporation Rishi Kumar Shukla in his office after his appointment as C.B.I. Director

Director General of Madhya Pradesh Police Housing Corporation Rishi Kumar Shukla in his office after his appointment as C.B.I. Director   | Photo Credit: A.M. Faruqui

Former Madhya Pradesh top officer chosen by high-power panel led by PM; Kharge pens dissent note.

Former Director-General of Police of Madhya Pradesh Rishi Kumar Shukla, a 1983 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the M.P. cadre, was on Saturday appointed the Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the country’s premier investigation agency, for two years.

Mr. Shukla was picked from a panel of several names cleared by the high-power committee, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprising the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has, based on the panel recommended by the Committee constituted as per Section 4A(1) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, approved the appointment of Rishi Kumar Shukla as Director, CBI, for a period of two years,” stated the official notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in the evening.

‘Experience lacking’

However, the Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge submitted a dissent note on Mr. Shukla’s appointment, saying he did not meet the required criteria as he had not worked in any anti-corruption agency.

In his dissent letter, Mr. Kharge contended that three aspects — seniority, integrity and experience in investigation of anti-corruption cases — should be given equal weightage to get officers best suited in the short-list.

He also stressed that the criteria decided at the meeting were diluted by adding general investigation experience as experience of investigation of anti-corruption cases.

Amid controversies

Mr. Shukla’s appointment comes at a time when the agency is mired in a series of controversies related to a bitter fight between two top officials, former Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana, both of whom were shunted out following serious corruption allegations against them.

 

In fact, the top post in the agency has been vacant since October 2018 when Mr. Verma and his deputy Mr. Asthana were removed based on Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report after Mr Verma lodged an FIR naming his deputy Asthana in a bribery case.

However, the Supreme Court, acting on a plea filed by Mr. Varma and a non profit outfit, reinstated Mr Verma as CBI Chief, while asking the centre to call a meeting of selection committee to decide on the matter. The selection committee on January 10 removed Alok Verma as Director, just two days after the Supreme Court had reinstated him.

He was transferred to the Fire Services as Director General, after the panel said that as CBI chief, he had “not acted with the integrity expected of him.” The selection committee had taken a decision with two members: PM and Justice A.K. Sirki, nominated by the Chief Justice of India, while Leader of the Opposition had opposed Mr. Varma’s removal from the post.

Mr Shukla’s appointment also coincides with the agency’s investigation into high profile cases involving top politicians and political opponents of the NDA government.

Among the cases are the recently lodged illegal mining case involving former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav, land acquisition case involving former CM of Haryana Bhupinder Hooda and Aircel Maxis case with former Finance Minister P Chidambaram named as accused among others.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 1:11:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rishi-kumar-shukla-is-the-new-cbi-chief/article26161986.ece

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