Govt weighs CBI options

Govt weighs CBI options

By: || Updated: 21 Nov 2014 03:05 AM
New Delhi: Days before the Manmohan Singh government appointed Ranjit Sinha as CBI director in 2012, he had approached then home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde complaining his “competitors” were sullying his image.




With his image shredded by a Supreme Court rap 12 days before he retires, the Centre is mulling how to jettison the Haryana-cadre Indian Police Service officer.


The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, under which the CBI was set up, does not provide for the agency chief’s removal. One option, therefore, is to ask Sinha to go on leave, sources said.


The government already faced a legislative tangle over the appointment of Sinha’s successor and was considering giving him a brief extension while it sorted the matter out. Now, the sources said, this was out of the question.


Asked by the Supreme Court to recuse himself from the 2G case, following allegations of trying to get VIP accused off the hook, Sinha is being seen as having done “enough damage” to the CBI’s image. Further, with him facing similar charges relating to the coal-block case, another rap from the apex court cannot be ruled out.


Indications, though, are that Sinha would not resign. A statement from his lawyer Vikas Singh said the court had made it clear that it was not “casting any aspersion on any individual or on CBI”. The Telegraph’s legal correspondent, who was in court, did not hear any such observation.


Some within the government feel that since the apex court has already acted, the government need not.


“We may not do anything as the Supreme Court is doing what it has to,” a source close to home minister Rajnath Singh said. Others, however, want exemplary action but are unsure how it can be done.


The government has been working on amending the law, which says the CBI director is to be selected by a panel that includes the Lok Sabha leader of the Opposition.


Since no one holds such a post now, a move is on to change the wording to “leader of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha”.


One option before the government is to appoint a special director to the CBI who would take over as acting director in Sinha’s absence till the Centre is able to change the law and pick a new director.


“Appointing a special director would require approval only from the Central Vigilance Commission and the cabinet appointments committee, which is just a day’s job,” a former CBI officer said.


-The Telegraph, Calcutta

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