The high-powered selection committee headed by the Prime Minister on Monday finalised three names for the post of CBI director — SSB Director-General Kumar Rajesh Chandra, Special Secretary in the Home Ministry V S K Kaumudi, and CISF Director General Subodh Kumar Jaiswal.
The exercise, however, was not smooth, as the Opposition member in the panel — Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury — registered his dissent over the procedure of selection.
Chief Justice of India N V Ramana is the third member of the panel.
It is learnt that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had on May 11 sent a list of 109 names to members of the committee. On Monday, the panel received 16 names in two tranches, along with executive sheets and other documents.
Chowdhury, it is learnt, raised this issue in the meeting. He is learnt to have asked how the DoPT could prune the list to 16 names, eliminating 93 names. Chowdhury, sources said, said it is the selection committee’s responsibility to keep or eliminate names, and not that of the DoPT.
He then sought deferment of the meeting but the government did not agree, it is learnt.
Sources said the names which the DoPT sent to members of the panel include Anand Prakash Maheshwari, Vijay Kumar Singh, Somesh Goyal, Arvind Kumar, Samant Kumar Goel, Rakesh Asthana, Y C Modi, S S Deswal, Hitesh Chandra Awasthi, Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, Kumar Rajesh Chandra, Arun Kumar, Loknath Behera, V S K Kaumudi, and Abhay.
Chowdhury, it is learnt, pointed out that of these names, five have already retired. He is learnt to have severely criticised the DoPT and asked whether the department has taken the panel for granted. Since the government did not agree to defer the meeting, Chowdhury objected.
The panel then shortlisted three names and Chowdhury registered his dissent on the procedure, which was followed.
When contacted, Chowdhury said he was given 109 names on May 11; 10 names around 1 pm, and some six names later. He said the casual approach of the DoPT was highly objectionable.
* A 1985-batch IPS officer of Maharashtra cadre, Subodh Jaiswal is the senior-most among the shortlisted officers for the post of CBI director. The chief of CISF at present, Jaiswal was earlier the Mumbai Police commissioner and the Maharashtra DGP before coming on central deputation earlier this year. He has had long stints in the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing, though he has no experience of serving in the CBI.
While posted in Maharashtra, Jaiswal had investigated the infamous Telgi scam, which was later taken over by CBI. At that time, Jaiswal was heading the State Reserve Police Force. He later joined the Maharashtra ATS, and went on to serve the Research and Analysis Wing for almost decade.
He returned to the state under the Devendra Fadnavis government and was appointed Mumbai CP in June 2018. He later became Maharashtra DGP.
It was under his supervision that the Elgaar Parishad and Bhima Koregaon violence cases were investigated before being transferred to CBI. Early this year, he came on central deputation.
* A 1985-batch IPS of Bihar cadre, Kumar Rajesh Chandra is currently D-G, Sashastra Seema Bal. He has earlier served in the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the Special Protection Group, which guards the PM. He has also served extensively in his home state of Bihar. A PG in Economics from JNU in Delhi, Chandra will retire from service on December 31, 2021.
* A 1986-batch IPS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, V S K Kaumudi is currently Special Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs. He was earlier the chief of Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D). Under him, BPR&D had prepared a comprehensive report on fake news and shared it with police forces across the country last May.
The detailed guidelines on how to spot and combat fake news cited multiple examples of such misinformation, which included fake news on the role of Muslims in spreading coronavirus in the backdrop of the Tablighi Jamaat incident. One of the instances of fake news, as cited by the report, also talked about “Tablighi Jamaat Chief’s Leaked Audio On Covid 19”.
The Indian Express had, only a day before, reported that an initial probe by Delhi Police had found this audio clip to be doctored. The police had then denied the report. The BPR&D report was eventually pulled down from its website for “correction” but was never uploaded again.
Kaumudi has served long stints in his state and at the Centre. Besides working as SP of Adilabad and Guntur districts in erstwhile undivided Andhra Pradesh, he was also posted as Joint Commissioner of Police of Hyderabad City, and CP, Visakhapatnam. He worked in the Intelligence Security Wing, Economic Offences Wing of CID, Training, Provisioning & Logistics and Welfare wings of AP Police.
In his first stint with the Government of India, he worked as SP, CBI, in Delhi and Patna. At senior levels, he worked as Additional Director General of Police in the NIA and the BPR&D, and headed the J&K zone of the CRPF. As Director General, BPR&D, he hastened several Research and National Police Mission projects. He has been posted as Special Secretary (Internal Security), MHA, since August 19, 2020.
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