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Rakesh Asthana, key figure in CBI 'feud', in running to be agency chief

NIA chief Y.C. Modi is also a frontrunner for the post

32-Rakesh-Asthana Rakesh Asthana

 The race for the post of CBI director has begun with the government appointing two senior IPS officers M.A. Ganapathy and Kuldiep Singh as director general of National Security Guards and Central Reserve Police Force respectively. Both Ganapathy and Singh are 1986 batch IPS officers. The Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) is now learnt to be drawing up a list of eligible 1984, 1985, 1986 batch IPS officers for the post of CBI director after 1983 batch IPS officer Rishi Kumar Shukla retired in February after a two year stint.

Going by seniority, the government may pick a 1984 batch IPS officer which makes incumbent BSF DG Rakesh Asthana and NIA DG Y.C. Modi frontrunners for the top job. However, there is tough competition by others who are in the fray like CISF chief Subodh Jaiswal, 1985 batch Kerala cadre IPS officer Loknath Behera and UP DGP H.C. Awasthi, with all three having wide experience in vigilance and investigations.

The government has, for the time being, appointed an interim director—Praveen Sinha, a 1988 batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre. Sources in the government said that deliberations have begun on the need to fill up the chair of the CBI director, a posting that has courted controversy following the bitter feud between then CBI director Alok Verma and special director Asthana in 2018. The tensions had started building up after Asthana had been appointed director of the central agency before Verma took charge. The latter's tenure was marred by blame game of corruption between the number one and number two in the agency.

Asthana has got a clean chit from the CBI and the courts over the allegations leveled against him by Verma and once again his name is on top of the list for the post of director.

The government is, meanwhile, proceeding carefully before it appoints a new chief of the central agency. Besides, NIA DG Y.C. Modi, Gujarat cadre IPS officer Keshav Kumar and interim director Praveen Sinha are also learnt to be in the fray.

The DOPT shortlists the names which are then sent to the Central Vigilance Committee for clearance followed by selection by a high powered committee headed by the Prime Minister and consisting of leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India.


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