CBI to have acting chief for now; PM-led panel to decide “soon”

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will have no director for now after its current chief RK Shukla’s term ended on Feb 3. Sources say a high-powered committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will decide on a new candidate “soon” and until then, the country’s top investigating agency will have an acting chief. Praveen Sinha, Additional Director in CBI, will take over as interim Director for a few days, say sources.

Among the frontrunners for the CBI top job are YC Modi, the chief of the National Investigation Agency (NIA); Border Security Force chief Rakesh Asthana; Former Maharashtra police chief Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, Kerala police chief Loknath Behura and SS Deswal, Director General of ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police).

RK Shukla will not be given an extension after the end of his two-year term. His counterpart in the Enforcement Directorate, SK Mishra, was given a year’s extension, which has been challenged in the Supreme Court by lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

Officials point out that the Enforcement Directorate’s chief is always appointed by the government but in the case of the CBI, the selection involves the PM-led committee that includes Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the leader of the biggest opposition party Congress. The panel will meet soon, possibly after the Budget session, sources say. “No CBI Director has ever been given an extension. Even for an extension the high-powered committee has to meet and clear the proposal. The file has been cleared for appointing Praveen Sinha, the senior most Additional Director in CBI, as in-charge,” sources say.