Govt may not take action

The government has no plans to act against Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Ranjit Sinha at this juncture, though the BJP leaders feel vindicated by the Supreme Court directive to remove him from the 2G probe.

As Sinha is due to retire on December 2 and the apex court has asked only him to recuse from the probe, the BJP leaders sought to bring back the focus on the manner in which Sinha was appointed two years ago.

They recalled that the BJP had strongly objected to his appointment as CBI chief in November 2012. “The UPA should not have gone ahead with Sinha’s appointment after the BJP had objected to his selection. Sinha’s role has been controversial since he took over and culmination of the events against him with the court order only proves our stand,” said a party leader.

Two years ago,  Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively, wrote to then prime minister Manmohan Singh saying that the decision appointing Sinha as the next CBI chief should be kept on hold till the collegium system becomes a law as recommended by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Lokpal.

“This is a matter on record that hours before this recommendation (of the Select Committee) was tabled on the floor of the Rajya Sabha, the government has chosen to appoint a CBI director for a period of two years. We must record our strong disappointment and disapproval of this act of the government,” the letter had said.

“We would request you to revisit this matter and keep this appointment in abeyance till such time this recommendation becomes a law of the land. Hopefully this can happen in the next few days,” Swaraj and Jaitley had said.

The Select Committee on Lokpal had stated that “The director of the CBI will be appointed by a collegium comprising the prime minister, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and the chief justice of India.” The recommendation was made unanimously by the panel.

At that time the Congress, however, rejected the BJP's demand. Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit had said, “The Select Committee's report is a recommendation. It is not an Act. The CBI director is retiring and appointment of a new director is regular process. Appointment cannot wait for a recommendation to be passed in the House.”

The Congress had maintained that until the Lokpal Bill was passed by Parliament, the government was well within its right to appoint a new CBI director based on the guidelines laid out by the Supreme Court.

But this was also the first time a new CBI director was appointed a week before the incumbent retired. The Lokpal bill was subsequently passed by Parliament in December 2013.

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