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India: Search for Successor is Pursuit of Credibility

| by Yatish Yadav

( November 24, 2014, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) The names of several senior officers are doing the round for the post of the new CBI chief as Rajit Sinha retires on December 2.

One of the names being heard loudly is that of Special Secretary (Internal Security) Prakash Mishra. His batchmate Abhay Anand is also said to be in the race. The police officer-cum-social activist Anand launched ‘Super 30’, a free tutorial to teach 30 bright youngsters from underprivileged families of rural Bihar for IIT entrance test. But, despite being revered by IIT aspirants, terror and law and order incidents during his tenure as DGP of the state sullied his image.

The hooligans taking over streets of Patna and subsequent riot like situation in 2012, the Bodh Gaya blast in July 2013 and Patna Gandhi Maidan blast in October 2013 may work against Anand. Anand, who will retire on January 1, 2015, was removed as DGP of Bihar in June 2014 and sent to an insignificant position of DGP, Home Guards and Fire Services. The name of Anand’s batchmate Omendra Bhardwaj, DGP, Rajasthan, is also doing the rounds. Bhardwaj was picked up for the top position after the BJP government returned to power last year.

If North Block sources are to be believed, Jayanta Narayan Choudhury is also in the race. A seasoned intelligence operative with 26 years of service in the Intelligence Bureau, Choudhury is currently serving as DG of elite commando force, National Security Guards. He was made DGP of Assam in 2012.

Although serving in IB could be an advantage for Choudhury to get into the panel, the lack of experience in the CBI may eclipse his prospects. A postgraduate from the prestigious Delhi School of Economics, Choudhury will retire in May 2015.

If the government decides to prefer competence over seniority, it may brighten the chances of two 1979 batch IPS officers likely to be short-listed by the government. Anil Kumar Sinha, who is tipped to be given additional charge of the agency, till the time government selects the chief, is the second most senior officer in the CBI after its chief and currently responsible for CBI probe into Special Crime, cases related to Mumbai zone, Lucknow zone, STF, Kolkata, the Northeast and also probe into Economic Offences.

Before joining CBI as Special Director in 2013, Sinha served as Additional Secretary in the Central Vigilance Commission. An MPhil in Strategic Studies, Sinha held several important positions in the state cadre. Sinha, who also served as DIG and IG in SPG, will retire in January 2016.

His batchmate and Haryana cadre IPS officer Sharad Kumar, currently DG, NIA, is also eying the top position. Kumar served around eight years in the CBI during 1991 to 1999 as SP and DIG. Kumar, who will retire in October 2015, was appointed chief of the anti-terror agency in 2013 and besides handling important investigations in Hyderabad blasts, Bodh Gaya, Patna and the recent Burdwan blasts, Kumar also led the team to dismantle Indian Mujahideen network in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

According to sources, NDA government’s winter of discontent on top appointments in the central government may not end soon as several other top positions in organisations like Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) is falling vacant in December. Sources said two senior Intelligence officers in the domestic spy agency, Dineshwar Sharma and Ashok Prasad, are in the race for next IB chief while Amitabh Mathur, a 1977 batch IPS officer who has been absorbed into R&AW, is said to be strong contender for next R&AW chief after incumbent Alok Joshi retires in December.

“But no one knows what Modi government will decide. Even the crowd in Gymkhana Club have stopped speculation, knowing well the secrecy maintained by the new regime. There was some indication that an officer from IB may be brought in to head R&AW or may be somebody from the parent cadre,” a senior official said.

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