New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) may get a new director by early February with the high-powered selection committee likely to meet on Friday. The committee is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Leader of largest Opposition party Mallikarjun Kharge as well.

When the panel had earlier met on January 24, the meeting remained inconclusive. A report in DNA says while 80 names were put before the committee, the list was shortened to just 12 names.

The Government has faced flak over CBI chief Alok Verma’s removal. Verma was to retire on January 31. Verma’s resignation has still not been accepted and as per a leading daily, the Home Ministry wants Verma to join the new office he was transferred to.

The daily said that in a letter sent to Verma on Wednesday, MHA wrote, “You are directed to join the post of DG, Fire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards immediately.”

Since Verma is set to retire today itself, this would mean joining for just a day.

The Home Ministry’s reply came in response to Verma’s request to consider him superannuated from January 11 after he was moved out of the post of CBI Director by the high-power selection committee.

He said that he “was only serving the Government as CBI Director until January 31, 2019, as it was a fixed tenure role”.

Verma was first moved out of CBI by the government in October on the recommendation of CVC but was reinstated by the Supreme Court in January. Then,  the selection committee, with a majority of 2-1, asked him to join his remaining term as DG Fire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards.

While his move was opposed by leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Modi was supported by Justice AK Sikri, nominee of CJI.

Justice A K Patnaik (retd), who had monitored the CVC enquiry against Verma on the orders of the Supreme Court, had criticised the decision of the committee calling it “very very hasty”.

Meanwhile, during the selection committee meeting to pick a new director for the agency, Kharge had stated that he needed more time to check the credentials of the officers on the list.

Reports say the shortlisted names include 1983 batch officer Shivanand Jha, who is serving as DGP Gujarat, BSF Director General Rajnikant Mishra, CISF director general Rajesh Ranjan, director general NIA YC Modi and Mumbai police commissioner Subodh Jaiswal.