New Delhi: While the high-powered committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on Thursday to decide the name of the next CBI chief, it failed to arrive at a consensus.
CBI director’s post has been lying vacant since Alok Verma was shunted out earlier this month. Thursday’s meeting was held at Prime Minister’s official residence and was attended, apart from PM Modi himself, by the other members of the committee, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
Both the CJI and Kharge reportedly said they needed more information about the candidates on the list.
On January 10, the panel had removed Verma, who was engaged in a very public spat with IPS officer Rakesh Asthana over corruption charges. Both Verma and Asthana have accused each other of impropriety.
After being removed from the post, Verma was named the Director General of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards, but he refused to accept it.
The Centre had appointed M Nageshwara Rao as the interim CBI chief. Kharge recently wrote to the Prime Minister, calling Rao’s appointment “illegal”. He had asked the government to immediately convene the meeting of the panel to decide on the new CBI chief.
Meanwhile, on the process of selection of the next CBI chief, the Congress had said it hoped it would be fair and transparent. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the new CBI director should be someone “who is unpartisan, who is fair and whose proximities are not subject to any kind of finger-pointing or suspicion.”
Earlier in the day, Justice AK Sikri had recused himself from hearing a plea challenging the Centre’s decision to appoint Rao as interim director.
Now the matter is listed for Friday for hearing before a different bench.
Sikri recused himself as he was part of the panel which had removed Verma.