With little over a week’s time left for CBI Director Ranjit Sinha to demit office, the Centre has started the process of selecting a new chief of the investigating agency.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has sought the names of senior IPS officers fulfilling the eligibility criteria to make a panel for the selection committee to choose the CBI director, official sources said.
Sinha’s tenure ends on December 2.
The process for selection of the next CBI chief has been started by the DoPT, which acts as nodal authority for CBI, and the new appointment is likely to be made before the present incumbent tenure ends, the sources said.
According to the Lokpal Act, the CBI chief has to be appointed by the central government on the basis of recommendation of the selection committee headed by the Prime Minister, and comprising the Leader of Opposition (LoP) and the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge nominated by him as members.
The Home Ministry will send the names of the IPS officers to the DoPT which will then send a panel of such officers formed on the basis of “seniority, integrity and experience in the investigation of anti-corruption cases” to the selection panel, they said.
The Supreme Court had on Thursday removed Sinha from the multi-crore 2G scam case probe while hearing a matter.
The government is also in the process of amending the Lokpal and Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Acts, 1946, to pave way for the CBI chief appointment as there is no recognised LoP in Lok Sabha, who is a member of the selection committee, they said.
Both the Lokpal and DSPE Acts are to be amended so that there is no requirement of “quorum” in the selection committee and the proceedings of the panel are not considered invalid due to absence or vacancy of a member, the sources said.
The Union Cabinet had on November 10 deferred a proposal moved by DoPT to amend the Lokpal and DSPE Acts. The changes
in the legislations are to be approved by the Cabinet so that they are taken up in Parliament. The government is likely to bring a bill in this regard during the Winter Session of Parliament that begins tomorrow, they said.
Congress with 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha has emerged as the second largest party after BJP’s 280 but fell short by 11 to stake claim for the LoP’s post for which it requires a minimum strength of 55.
Earlier, the CBI director was being selected under the provision of the DSPE Act.
According to the Act, the Centre shall appoint the CBI Director on the recommendation of a panel consisting of the Central Vigilance Commissioner as Chairperson and Vigilance Commissioners, Home Secretary and Secretary (Co-ordination and Public Grievances the Cabinet Secretariat) as members.
However, after the enactment of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act in January, the provisions of the DSPE Act were changed including the requirement of consultation with the outgoing CBI director in the selection process.