Over the next few days, the UPA government will have a big decision on its hands- choosing the next Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation from the three finalists picked by the Central Vigilance Commission. The two-year term of present CBI Director AP Singh, a 1974 batch IPS officer of the Jharkhand cadre, expires on November 30.
A high-powered selection committee headed by Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar and comprising of the Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary, Secretary (Personnel) and CBI Director, on October 30 cleared a panel of three senior IPS officials—Ranjit Sinha, a 1974 batch IPS officer of Bihar cadre, S C Sinha, a 1975 batch Haryana cadre officer, and Atul Gupta a 1976 batch officer of the Uttar Pradesh UP cadre. While Ranjit and SC Sinha’s name were doing the rounds for some time, Atul Gupta was the big surprise in the final list.
Gupta was given preference over his batchmate of the AGMUT cadre Neeraj Kumar, currently serving as the Commissioner, Delhi Police. Kumar, a Stephanian, was considered a strong contender but was overlooked for unknown reasons. During his 9-year tenure with CBI, Kumar cracked several cases, including the Mumbai serial blasts of 1993, and raised a Special Task Force within the agency to crackdown on Mumbai’s underworld.
Sources said the name of V K Gupta, a 1977 batch IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre, was also removed to create harmonious batchwise list, putting seniority as first priority. Gupta, one of the strong contenders till October 30, is currently serving as special director in the CBI and supervising investigation in high-profile cases.
The three names have been put before the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the final decision. With a scam tumbling out every week, sources said selection of the top cop to replace AP Singh’s legacy will be a big challenge for the Manmohan Singh-led committee.
A P Singh has overseen investigations in a number of cases considered to highly sensitive.