NEW DELHI: The government has trimmed the list of contenders for the CBI Director’s post from 82 to 11, but controversial IPS officer Rakesh Asthana still figures on the list that will be submitted to the selection committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
The committee is expected to meet soon. The 11 candidates have been shortlisted from a pool of IPS officers belonging to the 1983, 1984 and 1985 batches. All of them have served the premier investigating agency before.
Topping the list in terms of seniority is 1983-batch Madhya Pradesh cadre officer Rina Mitra, currently Special Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Mitra has had a five-year stint at the CBI and is considered to be the most non-controversial. But her prospects of bagging the prized post are said to be bleak as she is scheduled to retire by the end of this month.
If the panel does not meet by then, she will lose out on the opportunity to head the CBI, which has only had male chiefs so far.
Though Asthana is still in the pruned list, his name is likely to be struck down as there is an FIR against him, lodged by the agency itself in a corruption case during former CBI chief Alok Verma’s stint. Asthana has served in the CBI for about seven years.
National Investigation Agency Director General YC Modi, another 1984 batch officer, may not be able to make it because at the last meeting of the panel on January 24, Kharge is understood to have raised many questions about him. Modi, considered close to the Narendra Modi government, has had a nine-year stint at the CBI.
Indo-Tibetan Border Force Director General SS Deswal and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Special Secretary VK Johri are strong contenders too. Both have served in the CBI for five years each.
The officer with the longest experience in the CBI, 12 years, is Javeed Ahmad of the 1984 batch. He was the UP Director General of Police during the Akhilesh Singh government.
The other 1984 batch officer is Rajesh Ranjan, currently head of the Central Industrial Security Force. He has had a five-year stint at the CBI.
Uttar Pradesh Vigilance Director HC Awasthi and Rajasthan Home Guards Director General OP Galhotra, of the 1985 batch, are also in the race. Railway Protection Force Director General Arun Kumar (1985 batch) is also in the list.