Asthana’s appointment as the CBI’s interim chief has already been challenged in the Supreme Court.
New Delhi: Delhi police commissioner Alok Verma has emerged as the frontrunner in the race to become head of the nation’s premier investigative agency, the CBI. The collegium, that is headed by the Prime Minister and includes the leader of the main Opposition party in Parliament, that was to meet Monday to finalise the name of the full-time CBI director, will now hold this meeting on January 4.
A source said: “The government has already prepared a list of senior IPS officials (all from 1979-1982 batches) for the coveted post. Although the collegium may meet on Monday, a final decision to select a fulltime CBI director may be taken on January 4.” Delhi police commissioner Alok Verma is the frontrunner for the post, the sources said. The CBI is now headed by Rakesh Asthana, an IPS officer of the 1984 batch, Gujarat cadre, who is holding additional charge of the post.
Besides Mr Verma, some other names are also doing the rounds for the CBI director’s post. Among the prominent names are the director-general of the Sashastra Seema Bal, Archana Ramasundram (IPS 1980 batch, Tamil Nadu cadre); the director-general of the Bureau of Police Research and Development, Dr M.C. Borwankar; ITBP director-general Krishna Chaudhary; Union home ministry special secretary R.K. Dutta (1981 batch, Karnataka cadre); and Maharashtra DGP Satish Mathur (IPS 1981 batch).
Mr Asthana’s appointment as the CBI’s interim chief has already been challenged in the Supreme Court. After the enactment of the Lokpal Act, meant to give more teeth to the CBI, the agency’s director has to be appointed by a collegium comprising the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India or his nominee and the Leader of the Opposition. “As per existing norms the Central government has to appoint the CBI director only on the recommendation of the collegium,” a source said. Under the Supreme Court guidelines, officials with experience in anti-corruption or in the CBI from the seniormost four batches of the IPS cadre will be empanelled, after which a shortlist of three officers will be sent to the collegium”, the source added.