PM-led panel’s meet to select CBI chief remains ‘inconclusive’

The meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led selection committee to confirmed on the next CBI chief remained inconclusive, officials said Thursday. They said no decision on the CBI director was on at the meeting.

“A list of eligible officers along with their dossiers was shared with the panel members. But no decision has been taken so far,” an official said asking anonymity. He stated that another meeting of the panel will be called soon to finalize the name.

The meeting, which was conducted at the prime minister’s residence, was attended by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. The post of CBI head has been lying empty since January 10 after the unceremonious exit of Alok Verma, who was engaged in a bitter fight with Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana over corruption charges.

Both Verma and Asthana have accused each other of impropriety. Verma, after being removed from the post of CBI director, was given as the Director General of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards – a less significant portfolio.

Verma did not take the offer and wrote to the government, saying he should be considered as deemed superannuated as he has completed 60 year age of superannuation. He had acted over as the CBI chief on February 1, 2017, for a fixed two-year tenure.

In a letter to Secretary of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), C Chandramouli, Verma claimed he could not accept the new assignment offered by the government as he had superannuated on July 31, 2017. The Centre has not yet made public its decision on Verma’s letter.

M Nageshwara Rao has been serving as the interim CBI chief after Verma’s ouster. Verma’s resignation letter led to a political slugfest with the opposition parties, mainly the Congress, accusing the central government of stated interference in public institutions. Kharge had currently written to the prime minister terming Rao’s appointment as CBI’s interim chief “illegal”. He had demanded the government to immediately convene the meeting of the panel to decide on the new CBI chief.