Indicating that the new CBI director’s name has been finalised, the Central government Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that all issues relating to the selection of the agency’s new chief will be settled and the name revealed by January 20. After recording the statement by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, the bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and A M Khanwilkar posted the petition by NGO ‘Common Cause’ for hearing on January 20.
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Rohatgi submitted that the selection panel, comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India J S Khehar and Leader of the single largest party in the Opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge, met a day ago to select the new CBI chief and the minutes of the meeting were being drawn up. Representing the NGO, advocate Prashant Bhushan asked the AG whether the selection has been done. “I think so,” replied the AG, adding he would disclose everything about the selection by the next date of hearing.
Following the meeting on Monday, Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma, a 1979-batch IPS officer, is understood to have emerged as the top candidate for the post of CBI director even as Kharge reportedly put across his points of dissent. The court was on December 16 informed by the government that the high-powered selection committee will meet soon to select a regular director for the CBI, which is currently being headed by acting director Rakesh Asthana.
NGO Common Cause has alleged that the Centre took a series of steps in a “completely malafide, arbitrary and illegal manner to ensure that Asthana was given the charge of the CBI director” after curtailing the tenure and moving out a more senior officer, R K Dutta.