Odisha cadre Indian Police Service officer M Nageshwar Rao, who was last week controversially appointed by the government to take over “the duties and functions of Director, CBI”, wrote to the Union Home Secretary this August alleging bias and “hostility” of the government-appointed Expert Committee meant to review officers during the empanelment process that was considering him for the rank of Director General (DG).
In an unusual attack on his fellow IPS officers, Rao alleged he was a victim of “skulduggery” of IPS officers of Odisha cadre which is “highly divided with incessant internecine fights”, and thus “feedback from IPS officers of Odisha may kindly be taken not with a pinch of salt but a ladle of salt” by the government while considering him for empanelment for DG.
Rao, whose role as interim Director of CBI was curtailed by the Supreme Court on Friday, also argued that retired Bihar cadre IPS officer Rakesh Jauhar who “is a member of the Expert Committee for 360 degree review of the officers” is biased against him.
Jauhar was Rao’s instructor at Sardar Patel Police Academy during his training and is the senior-most member of the Expert Committee.
“Jauhar has developed personal prejudice against me for certain reasons which I could explain in person, for which I request that I may kindly be given an opportunity”, Rao alleged in the letter written in first week of August, adding “driven by hostility Sri Jauhar is likely to influence the Committee as its senior most member, as a result its final recommendations may be biased”.
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Rao is from the 1986 IPS batch, which sources said, is scheduled to be empanelled in the next few months, after the 1985 batch of IPS officers was empanelled recently.
However, officers of batches of 1982-1984, who have already been empanelled, are still waiting to become DGs. The post of CBI Director is a DG-rank post.
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During the initial empanelment of 1986 batch IPS officers to the rank of ADG in November 2016, Rao was not empanelled when 32 IPS officers of his batch were. Rao was eventually empanelled as an ADG in October 2017 when five others of his 1986 IPS batch-mates were also empanelled.
In his letter, Rao alleged that during the empanelment to the rank of ADG, he “was a victim of that skulduggery” of fellow IPS officers of Odisha Cadre. “It is a well-known fact that IPS Odisha cadre is highly divided with incessant internecine fights among IPS officers, and therefore one’s career prospects may be jeopardised if the feedback sought happens to be from the wrong person of the cadre,” he told the Home Secretary.
The interim CBI Director claimed that he “not only has an unblemished record,” but his “public service delivery has been outstanding in each and every post” he has held. He argued that his selection for CBI “through an extremely rigorous selection process indicates the trust reposed by the Govt of India” in his “unimpeachable integrity, high degree of professionalism etc.”
Rao ended the letter by requesting that “the Government may take all these aspects in to consideration so that the process of empanelment remains fair and objective”.
Rao was in the CRPF between 2008 and 2011. He returned to Odisha in 2012 before being posted at the Centre as CBI Joint Director in April 2016. He took charge of the CBI on an interim basis last Tuesday after the government ordered Director Alok Verma to go on leave along with the agency’s Special Director Rakesh Asthana.