10:36 pm - Wednesday November 4, 2015

Additional CBI director RK Dutta may take over 2G probe

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A day after CBI director Ranjit Sinha was removed from the probe into the 2G scam by the Supreme Court, the second-incommand in the agency, special director Anil Sinha, had a long meeting with Home Secretary Anil Goswamy on Friday. The meeting assumed significance as it was held amid speculation that Ranjit Sinha could be asked to go on leave as he is due to retire on December 2.

Sources said since Anil Sinha is number two in the CBI, he would automatically be the candidate who could be appointed as acting director if there is an interim vacuum.

Anil Sinha, an IPS officer of the 1979 batch from Bihar cadre, is one of the candidates whose name is being considered for the post of CBI director. Sources said a top bureaucrat who enjoys the confidence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is backing him.

Others in the race are Prakash Mishra (1977 batch), currently Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry, Sharad Kumar (1979 batch) currently head of the NIA, and former Bihar Police chief Abhyanand (1977 batch). These names have been doing the rounds but sources say Omendra Bhardwaj, the DGP of Rajasthan, had emerged as a dark horse.

Another reason why Anil Sinha could have to hold the position temporarily is because the government is planning to bring an amendment to the Lokpal Act to allow the leader of single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha to be part of the three-member panel that selects the CBI director. There is no Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha as the Speaker has ruled that the Congress, with only 44 MPs or less than the required one-tenth of the total strength of the lower house of Parliament, cannot be given the post.

Under the new procedure laid down by the Lokpal Act, which made changes to the Delhi Police Special Establishment Act, the CBI director has to be selected by a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India or his nominee.

Sources said the bill to amend the Lokpal Act will be tabled and all efforts will be made to ensure that the required changes are carried through quickly so that the appointment of the new director is not delayed. “If the process cannot be completed by December 2, an acting director will be appointed,” said an official.

In a related development, RK Dutta, additional director in the CBI, will supervise the probe into the 2G scam. Dutta is the senior-most officer in the investigating team.

CBI sources said initially it was not clear whether special director Anil Sinha or Dutta will lead the investigation. They said it was decided that according to the Supreme Court order, the person heading the investigation team should be put in charge of the 2G cases.

Sinha suffered a major blow when the apex court removed him from the 2G probe, saying the allegations against him of protecting some accused appear to be “prima facie credible”.

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