BJP and Govt spar over ex-CBI chief's appointment as Guv

 The selection of former CBI Director Ashwani Kumar as Nagaland Governor sparked a row today with BJP saying the first-ever appointment of head of the probe agency to a gubernatorial post was "highly improper" and the Centre asserting there was no bar on such postings.

Targeting the Government, Opposition BJP leader Jaswant Singh said CBI should not become a "handmaiden" of the ruling establishment while his party colleague Murli Manohar Joshi alleged it showed the agency has been "used" and the selection is a "quid-pro-quo" in the form of a new assignment.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy strongly rebutted the charge, saying it was well within Government's right and that everyone should be allowed to work for the nation.

"It is well within the right of the government to appoint a Governor and there is nothing wrong about the appointment of Ashwani Kumar. There have been past precedents when former IPS or IAS officers or former Army chiefs were appointed as Governors," Shinde told reporters.

62-year-old Kumar, who was the Director of the agency from August 2008 to November 2010, is the first head of CBI to be appointed as a Governor.

Asked whether the appointment of Kumar as Governor would entice other serving officers as well, Shinde said "sab ko desh seva karne ka mauka milna chahiye (everyone should be allowed to work for the nation)."

Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy said Kumar had retired from the service two years ago.

"He has been appointed as a Governor because there is no bar under any law for appointing a retired officer as a Governor," he said, adding people from the fields of politics, police and administrative services had been appointed in the past well.

Asserting that the appointment of Kumar was "highly improper", Jaswant Singh said this smust not be done since CBI is a premier investigating agency. "It must not become a handmaiden of the ruling establishment."

"It( appointment of Kumar) proves that the CBI has been used and what you call a quid-pro-quo is in the form of a new assignment.

The person may be qualified or may not be qualified, but he has been given the assignment. A police officer being appointed into, say, NHRC (National Human Rights Commission)," Joshi said.

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