The Telegraph
Sunday , October 14 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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CBI chief set for post-retirement job

Amar Pratap Singh

New Delhi, Oct. 13: CBI director Amar Pratap Singh is set to get a post-retirement job as a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Sources said Singh, who retires on November 30, would be appointed a member of the NHRC the next day, replacing P.C. Sharma, a former director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, whose term with the rights panel ended in June.

Permanent members of the rights commission, headed by former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, enjoy the rank of a minister of state at the Centre.

The nine-member NHRC includes four permanent and four ex-officio members apart from the chairperson.

Very few CBI directors have been rewarded with post-retirement sinecures. The last to be rewarded was Sharma, who was one of the few commission members not related to the judiciary when he was appointed in March 2004.

His successors — U.S. Misra, Vijay Shanker and Ashwani Kumar — had retired without plum post-retirement jobs.

Singh’s successor will be shortlisted on October 18 at a meeting held by the chief vigilance commissioner, The Telegraph has learnt. The CBI comes under the vigilance commission, which shortlists three names before sending the recommendations for the director’s post to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Singh — who is known to have been a strong supporter of keeping the CBI out of government control and under whom the agency has been investigating several scams that have troubled the UPA government — would retain his Lodhi Road house.

Sources said the house, the official residence of the agency director for years, had already been allotted in the name of the outgoing director.

A new bungalow on Janpath is understood to have been earmarked by the urban development ministry for the new director.

Sharma’s predecessor, R.K. Raghavan, headed the special investigation team that probed Gujarat riot cases.

The race for the director’s post has already begun, with at least five names making it to the first list, sources said. The list will be pared to three by the Central Vigilance Commission next week.

The list of names include that of the director-general of the National Investigation Agency, Sharad Sinha, a 1975-batch Haryana-cadre officer who had served for over a decade in the CBI in various positions.

The senior-most officer on the list of probables is Ranjit Sinha, the current director-general of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Sinha had also served for a decade in the CBI as SP, DIG and later as joint director.

Among the other officers whose names have been recommended are Delhi police commissioner Neeraj Kumar, a Union territory-cadre officer of the 1976 batch, and Atul Kumar, who is also from the same cadre and batch.

However, the dark horse may be V.K. Gupta, a 1977-batch Gujarat-cadre officer, the sources said.

Appointments of CBI directors are sometimes highly unpredictable. Ashwani Kumar’s name, for instance, cropped up at the eleventh hour even as a CBI special director’s name had been finalised. Some officials recalled that even nameplates had been readied.

Considered a good IPS officer, Ashwani Kumar was once in charge of protecting some top Congress leaders during his stint in the Special Protection Group.