M A I N   N E W S

CVC Thomas part of panel searching for CBI head
Man Mohan
Our Roving Editor

New Delhi, November 26
Chief Vigilance Commissioner PJ Thomas - in the dock after the Supreme Court questioned his appointment, as his name figures in a criminal case - had last week attended a high-level meeting to shortlist the names of several senior IPS officers for the top job in the country’s premier probe agency, the CBI.

The meeting was also attended by Home Secretary, GK Pillai, and Secretary, Department of Personnel & Training, Alka Sirohi. The current CBI chief, Ashwani Kumar, is due to retire on November 30. The CVC and the CBI chief work in close cooperation to supervise investigations in sensitive corruption cases.

The empanelled names have been sent to the Appointments' Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. A decision is awaited any moment.

“It will be interesting to know in whose profile Thomas showed interest while discussing the names,” a senior Home Ministry official said.

Before being appointed as the CVC, despite stiff objections raised by Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, Thomas was Secretary in the Telecommunication Ministry (then) headed by Minister A. Raja, who recently resigned after an uproar in the Parliament over 2G Spectrum scam.

On Monday, a three-member Supreme Court Bench, headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia, questioned the appointment of Thomas and asked how he would work as the CVC since his name figures in the chargesheet filed in a palmoleine export case. As Thomas is in the dock, sources indicated the possibility of Ashwani Kumar getting a short extension to enable the government to form a ‘fresh’ panel to name his successor.

Sources indicate that at present Amar Pratap Singh, a 1974-batch Jharkhand cadre IPS officer, and Sharad Chandra Sinha, a ’75- batch IPS officer of the Haryana cadre, are the front-runners for the CBI top post.

Currently, Singh is Special Director and holds the number two position in the CBI. Sinha is the second chief of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which deals with counterterrorism cases. Two other officers have been shortlisted by the Thomas-Pillai-Sirohi committee. They are: Madhya Pradesh Police DG Santosh Kumar Raut and Indo-Tibetan Border Police DG RK Bhatia.

The profiles of some other IPS officers were also discussed by the panel. They included Ranjit Sinha, Director General of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Niraj Ranjan Das, Director-General of the Central Industrial Security Force.

Sharad Chandra Sinha’s tenure in the NIA is till October 31, 2013. Earlier, he had held several important positions in the CBI from 1985 to 1990 and from 2002 to 2007. It includes the post of Joint Director (Economic Offences Wing) and Superintendent of Police. Before joining the CBI, he was Haryana State Vigilance Bureau DG.

Raut is a 1974-batch IPS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre. A Blog describes him as a pleasant person, “having good contacts in Delhi, with all politicians.” It claims that “one day he will certainly be Director CBI or Director IB.”

RK Bhatia, a 1974-batch IPS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, took over as the ITBP chief on February 1 this year. He was made the ITBP chief at a time when the force began its extensive Rs 50- crore modernisation plan. Earlier, Bhatia has served as the DG of the National Disaster Response Force. His retirement is due in August 2011.

Niraj Ranjan Das, a 1973-batch IPS officer, became the CISF chief in January 2009. Ranjit Sinha, a 1974-batch Bihar cadre IPS officer, earlier served in his state for nearly 18 years. Then he worked as DIG, CBI (Patna), and later as Joint Director of CBI’s anti-corruption unit in Delhi, where he investigated a number of important cases.

Sinha also served in the CRPF and was posted as IG (Operations) in Srinagar and in charge of administration of the CRPF Directorate General. Before taking over as DG, RPF on November 12, 2008, he was serving as additional DG, ITBP Headquarters, here. He will reach the superannuation age on March 31, 2013.

The change at the top in the CBI comes at a time when it is pursuing several sensitive cases, including the Spectrum scam and the CWG corruption scandal. For the top job in the CBI, only those officers are considered who are either in the organisation or have earlier served in it. This is done as per the Supreme Court’s guidelines.

Has shortlisted profiles

Thomas, who is in the dock after the Supreme Court questioned his appointment and asked how he would work as the CVC since his name figures in the chargesheet filed in a palmoleine export case, had last week attended a crucial meeting that shortlisted names for the top job in the CBI. The meeting was attended by Home Secretary GK Pillai. 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |