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Former MP Police chief Rishi Kumar Shukla appointed CBI Director

Former MP Police chief Rishi Kumar Shukla appointed CBI Director

(Eds: Incorporating related stories) New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) Ending speculation, the government on Saturday appointed former Madhya Pradesh Police chief Rishi Kumar Shukla as the Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), weeks after controversial removal of Alok Kumar Verma from the post. According to a Personnel Ministry order, the appointment of 58-year-old Shukla, a 1983-batch IPS officer, will be for a fixed tenure of two years. The appointment of Shukla, who was removed as Madhya Pradesh Police chief earlier this week by the new Congress dispensation in the state, triggered a fresh war of words between the government and the opposition party. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, a member of the panel that decided on the appointment, sent a dissent note to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that the selection criterion was diluted in violation of law and Supreme Court judgements. However, Union Minister Jitendra Singh claimed that Kharge tried to "manipulate" the criteria with the ulterior motive of accommodating some of his preferred officers. Singh told PTI that Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who is part of the committee along with Modi and Kharge, had fully endorsed the objective criteria applied for selecting the head. Kharge's main objection was to the inclusion of investigation experience only, and not experience in investigating anti-corruption cases, in the criteria. Shukla takes charge of the country's premier investigation agency at a time it has been grappled with controversies. The post of the CBI chief has been lying vacant since January 10 after the unceremonious exit of Alok Kumar Verma, who had been engaged in a bitter fight with Gujarat-cadre IPS officer and former CBI special director Rakesh Asthana over corruption charges. Both Verma and Asthana had accused each other of corruption. The Congress had then questioned the removal of Verma, alleging that he was targeted as the government feared a probe into the Rafale fighter aircraft deal. Shukla is at present chairman of Madhya Pradesh Police Housing Corporation in Bhopal. From his first posting as the Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) of Raipur (now in Chhattisgarh) to the head of Madhya Pradesh police, Shukla has worked in key positions in both at the Centre and in state police department. Shukla, who has for around 11 years worked with the Intelligence Bureau, was on Wednesday transferred from the post of DGP, Madhya Pradesh Police. He took over as the chairman of Madhya Pradesh Police Housing Corporation from Thursday. He will take over the charge of CBI from M Nageshwara Rao, who is working as the interim chief of the probe agency. The appointment was done following recommendation of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led selection committee. Shukla's name was shortlisted during the second meeting of the selection committee held on Friday.The panel's first meeting on January 24 had remained inconclusive. The development assumes significance as on Friday, the Supreme Court had said it was "averse" to the arrangement of an interim CBI Director and the Centre should "immediately" appoint a regular chief of the probe agency. The post of CBI Director is "sensitive" and "important", and it is not good to keep an interim director of the agency for longer period, the top court observed and sought to know as to why the government has not made the appointment yet. Ousted CBI chief Alok Verma was removed after being engaged in a bitter fight with Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana, who was then working as the special director in the probe agency, over corruption charges. Both Verma and Asthana had accused each other of corruption. Verma, after being removed from the post of CBI director by the PM-led panel, was named as the Director General of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards -- a less significant portfolio. Verma did not accept the offer and wrote to the government, saying he should be considered as deemed superannuated as he has completed 60 years age of superannuation on July 31, 2017. He had taken over as the CBI chief on February 1, 2017 for a fixed two-year tenure that ended Thursday. Asthana has been moved out of the CBI and appointed Director General of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). PTI AKV ABS MAS SKC SMN