IPS officer Rishi Kumar Shukla new CBI Director

IPS officer Rishi Kumar Shukla new CBI Director

First challenge is to restore credibility

Senior IPS officer Rishi Kumar Shukla was on Saturday appointed as the new CBI Director. PTI file photo

Senior IPS officer Rishi Kumar Shukla was on Saturday appointed the new Director of the country's premier investigating agency CBI, three days after he was removed as Madhya Pradesh's Director General of Police. 

The immediate task of the 59-year-old officer would be to restore the credibility of the agency, which grabbed headlines for all wrong reasons from the factional fight at the top and levelling allegations and counter allegations of corruption against each other.

Only on January 30, he was transferred from the post of DGP by the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh and appointed as the chief of Madhya Pradesh Police Housing Corporation. He had gone on leave in October last year to undergo bypass surgery.

He will succeed Alok Verma, who was sacked on January 10 and take over charge from interim Director M Nageshwar Rao.

Based on the recommendation of the Selection Committee on CBI Director headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official order said, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved the appointment of Shukla, a 1983-batch IPS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre.

He will have a tenure of two years from the date of his assumption of charge of the office. In the normal course, he would have retired in August 2020 but now he will leave the office only in February 2021 as the post of CBI Director has an assured tenure of two years.

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Brief profile of new CBI director Rishi Kumar Shukla

The government considered a panel of names sent by the Selection Committee, which also included Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The names of the IPS officers included CRPF chief RR Bhatnagar and NSG chief Sudeep Lakhtakia among others.

Shukla, whose appointment came a day after Supreme Court expressed displeasure over the delay in appointing a full-time Director, will have a tough task ahead as his moves will be closely watched by political circles as the country is in election mode. He will have to oversee the probes into politically sensitive cases like AgustaWestland scam, Air India scandal and cases against Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Bhupinder Singh Hooda among others. Another high-profile case is the ICICI case in which its former CEO Chanda Kochhar is one of the accused.

The Selection Committee had two meetings on January 24 and February 1 and it was in the second meeting that the members arrived at a consensus on the names to be forwarded to the government.

Shukla's appointment comes as the CBI has been witnessing high-drama since last August when the factional fight between Verma and his second-in-command Rakesh Asthana reached its peak. Both the officers accused each other with corruption, leading to Asthana filing a complaint against Verma which reached the Central Vigilance Commission and Verma filing an FIR and launching an investigation against his deputy.

Verma's sacking came after he and then Additional Director Rakesh Asthana were locked in a factional feud. Both were then sent on leave by the government, a move challenged by Verma in Supreme Court. The apex court reinstated him citing procedural issues.

After his sacking from CBI, Verma was named as the Director General of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards but did not accept the offer and urged the government to consider him as deemed superannuated as he has completed 60 years age of superannuation on July 31, 2017. He had taken over as the CBI chief on February 1, 2017 for a fixed two-year tenure that ended Thursday.

The government also moved Asthana out of the CBI recently and posted him as the Director General of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). 

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