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Kharge objects to new CBI chief appointment, claims criterion of selection diluted

Kharge objects to new CBI chief appointment, claims criterion of selection diluted

(Eds: With additional inputs) New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving his dissent on the appointment of new CBI Director Rishi Kumar Shukla, alleging that the officer did not have experience in handling anti-corruption cases and the criterion for selection was diluted in violation of law and Supreme Court judgements. Kharge sent a two-page dissent note to the prime minister this evening after the government announced the name of the 1983-batch officer and former Madhya Pradesh Director General of Police as the new CBI director. Shukla was removed as DGP of Madhya Pradesh only three days ago by the new Congress government in the state. During the panel meeting on Friday, Kharge had expressed his displeasure over the selection criterion adopted.In the note, he said the three-member committee, chaired by Prime Minister Modi and in which he is a member along with Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, has violated the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE) that governs the CBI and the Supreme Court judgements. Kharge said the criterion in selecting the CBI director has been diluted to include investigation experience only and not experience in investigating anti-corruption cases. "I would like to bring to your kind attention that both the Supreme Court judgement and the DSPE Act talk about experience in investigation of anti-corruption cases only."However, the criterion decided in the meeting has diluted this to include investigation experience. This would be both against the letter and spirit of the DSPE Act which clearly states investigation of anti-corruption cases," he said in his note."One cannot stand by and accept the dilution of norms when an appointment to such a critical post is being made."By including officers who do not have experience in investigating anti-corruption cases, the committee is in violation of the DSPE Act and the Supreme Court judgements that guide the appointment of the Director of CBI," he said."Hence, in addition to my remarks of disagreement already noted in the minutes of the meeting of the committee, I record my dissent for the above mentioned reasoned against the recommendation of the proposed panel of names for appointment of post of CBI director," he also said.Kharge contended that seniority cannot be the only criterion in an appointment to such a critical post and experience in anti-corruption cases and prior experience of having served in the organisation should also be considered seriously. He said the committee has decided to shortlist the candidates on the basis of seniority, ACR above a certain cut-off and total experience in investigation and anti-corruption of 100 months or more.As per recommendation of the committee, the shortlisted panel included 1983 batch officers Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar and Shukla, besides 1984 batch IPS officers Sudeep Lakhtakia, S Javed Ahmed and A P Maheshwari.Sources said Kharge was pushing for the case of Ahmed. The Congress leader had suggested a panel of three officers based on experience. The list had Ahmed (with 303 months of overall experience), Bhatnagar (170 months) and Lakhtakia (155 months).According to Kharge, adding of general investigative experience to experience in investigating anti-corruption to enhance overall experience has led to inclusion of candidates who have "either no experience or at best very little experience" in investigation of anti-corruption cases.He said that all three aspects of seniority, integrity and experience in investigating anti-corruption cases should be given equal importance and based on criterion laid down by DSPE Act and Supreme Court.He said it is important to restore the image and integrity of the CBI as a premier institution that is fighting against corruption. "Hence, prior experience of having served in the institution should be given primacy after having shortlisted candidates based on their seniority and their ACRs," Kharge said. PTI SKC ZMN