NEW DELHI: Unlike old soldiers, old babus do not fade away. As the adage goes, the sun never sets on bureaucrats and every vacancy triggers a post-retirement roulette in which retired civil servants, armed with files on past achievement, engage in hectic lobbying to ensure they remain in power.
The latest vacancy in the anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Vigilance Commission for the post of the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and the Vigilance Commissioner (VC) has attracted over 120 retired bureaucrats who have thrown their hats in the ring. However, the government is in a fix, thanks to the intensive scrutiny by the Supreme Court, leader of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and eminent lawyers.
Sources said the entire selection process is being closely monitored by the apex court which had asked the Centre on December 17, 2014, to take its permission before appointing the CVC and the VC. It had also sought details about the selection process. This has resulted in a massive delay in filling up the positions that are lying vacant since September last year.
Reliable sources told Express that Devender Sikri, a 1975-batch IAS officer; Pervez Dewan, who retired as Secretary, Tourism, and Pankaj Jain, former Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, are among those in the race for the posts, of which 40 are serious contenders.
According to top sources, the contest has gained traction after the current CV Rajiv threw his hat in the ring eyeing the top post. An IPS officer of the 1975 batch, Rajiv is learnt to be the senior-most retired police officer in the race. If Rajiv is elevated as CVC, the government will have to select an IAS officer and a former Chairman or Managing Director of the Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) to fill the two VC posts.
In case the selection panel headed by the Prime Minister picks the CVC from the fresh short-list, it will have to select just one VC from the candidates with experience in public sector enterprise, banking, insurance or vigilance.
Sources said Devender K Sikri of Gujarat cadre is among the several top contenders for the CVC’s post.
Sources also said that going by the seniority list, Sikri is the only 1975-batch IAS officer who is being considered by the government for the top post.
It is learnt that Vishwapati Trivedi, who retired as Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, in November 2014, is also in the race.
Trivedi’s batch-mate and member of Securities Appellate Tribunal, Amarjeet Singh Lamba, is also said to be in the race.
Former Petroleum Secretary, G C Chaturvedi, who is currently serving as Member, Warehousing Development Regulatory Authority, is also tipped to be selected for the vigilance post.
Another probable candidate is Arun Kumar Jain, who had retired as Secretary, Women and Child Development.
The appointment of the CVC and the VC is delayed due to the pressure from the leaders and lawyers to bring transparency in the process.