JNU row costs Bassi post-retirement job

JNU row costs Bassi post-retirement job

A selection panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rejected the application of  Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi for the post of Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission (CIC).

Bassi’s name was dropped amid intense objection from opposition parties led by the Congress and transparency activists citing the way he handled the case involving JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and the subsequent violence against journalists, teachers and students.

The names of candidates for all three existing vacancies have been forwarded to President Pranab Mukherjee for his clearance. The names of former Information and Broadcasting Secretary Bimal Julka and former Intelligence Bureau Special Director D P Sinha is learnt to have been cleared.

The meeting came as the deadline set by the Delhi High Court to fill vacancies in the CIC ended on Friday.

Besides Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge attended the meeting. Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh was a special invitee to the meeting.

Sources said Kharge was against Bassi’s candidature. the Congress had earlier publicised its objection to Bassi’s possible selection.

Bassi, who is due to retire this month end, was one of the applicants for the post of Information Commissioner and his name was shortlisted last November by a search committee. He had then applied for both Information Commissioner as well as Chief Information Commissioner. However, the government picked former Defence Secretary R K Mathur as head of CIC in December. 

Earlier in the day, four prominent RTI activists shot off a letter to Modi, Jaitley and Kharge asking them to reject Bassi’s application.

“In the current circumstances when serious questions are being raised about Bassi’s conduct as police commissioner, we believe it would be wholly inappropriate to appoint him as an information commissioner,” they said.

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