When the Congress party lost it’s ‘technical’ right to obtain 10% of seats in the parliament to secure a Leader of Opposition seat, they have, again, ’technically’ ceded their post in the selection committee of CBI. But, later the leader of the single largest opposition party was inducted into the selection panel, which also comprises of the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India.
When the last CBI chief retired, the position was tentatively filled by appointing Mr. AK Asthana, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer. This led to hue and cry by opposition parties, calling his appointment illegal as due process was not followed. However government countered saying it was only a temporary arrangement. His appointment was challenged in the court of law by activist-lawyer Prashanth Bhushan.
Early last week, the selection committee, comprising the PM, CJI and Leader of the Largest Opposition Party (Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge), met to finalise a suitable, eligible candidate. The PM and CJI were in favour of Mr. Alok Verma, while Kharge favoured Mr. RK Dutta – a former CBI officer. Mr. Kharge’e cited lack of experience in CBI and anti-corruption units for rejecting Alok Verma. He has submitted a dissent note. Kharge is not alone. Prashanth Bhushan in his petition supported Dutta’s candidature taking into account his vast experience in anti-corruption units.
Mr. Dutta had been given the charge of finance terrorism unit in Finance Ministry. Government sources had defended it’s move saying Mr. Dutta is too senior to head CBI and he deserved a better position.
The new CBI Chief, is currently the Police Boss of New Delhi. Prior to this he served as the Director of Tihar jail. He succeeded BS Bassi in February 2016. Alok Verma is a 1979 batch officer of AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory) Cadre. Mr. Alok is known for being low profile, extremely diligent and hard working, and above all, non-controversial. Alok Verma’s tenure will be for 2 years.