The Congress party has lodged its dissent and questioned the procedure to shortlist a panel of candidates for consideration by the selection committee to appoint the new CBI director, sources have said.
A committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met on Monday evening to discuss a total of 16 candidates out of 109 officers who had applied for the post of new chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation. Sources said the selection panel shortlisted three names and sent it to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).
The selection committee chaired by the PM includes Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday accused the government of adopting a “casual and superficial” approach in selecting the new CBI director and questioned the shortlisting process, saying it is in conflict with the mandate of the selection committee.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is one of the three members of the high-powered panel to select the new director of the CBI.
In his dissent note, Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary objected to the shortlisted panel placed before the selection committee for consideration. The Congress leader brought to the notice of the committee that he was given the executive sheet details of 16 candidates on Monday itself whereas initially a list of 109 applicants was handed out to him.
The Congress leader is learned to have objected to the arbitrary shortlisting of the candidates by the DoPT (department of personnel and training) and termed the selection procedure as “casual and supercilious”.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary also argued that the process was in conflict with the mandate of the selection committee. He questioned the grounds on which the rest of the 93 candidates were eliminated from the selection process.
The Congress leader also pointed out that out of the total 109 names shortlisted for the post, five are pensioners.
“I have raised objections to the selection process, as it is in conflict with the mandate of the selection committee.I have raised objections on the procedural lapses. It is the mandate of the selection committee to omit or include names of candidates for the post, then how can the DoPT (department of personnel and training) do such shortlisting,” Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.
During the meeting, the Congress leader reportedly sought deferment of the selection process, but the other two members said they wanted to move ahead with the appointment and Chowdhury disagreed with them.
Interestingly, the list of 16 officers sent to the LOP ahead of the meeting had the names of two officers considered front runners for the position — YC Modi (DG, NIA) and Rakesh Asthana (DG, BSF) — but both did not make it to top three. This happened as it was pointed out in the meet that the officers with less than six months left in service should not be considered for the post of CBI Director, said a source.
The post of CBI director is vacant since the then incumbent Rishi Kumar Shukla retired on February 4 after a two-year stint.