CBI gets its new chief in Rishi Kumar Shukla

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Former Madhya Pradesh Police chief Rishi Kumar Shukla was on Saturday appointed the chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation for a fixed tenure of two years, according to a personnel ministry order. 

Shukla, a 1983-batch IPS officer, is at present chairman of Madhya Pradesh Police Housing Corporation in Bhopal. 

He has been appointed in place of Alok Kumar Verma, who was removed from the post of CBI director  n January 10. 

Shukla was recently transferred from the post of Director General of Madhya Pradesh Police to the police housing corporation. 

He will have a fixed tenure of two years during which he will have a huge task to restore the credibility of the agency. 

He joins at a time when CBI is going through a leadership crisis and discontent among subordinate officers, who are upset with their “unjustified transfers”. 

He will also have a task to complete probes in crucial cases such as the AgustaWestland scam, 2G scam, coal scam, Air India scandal, charges against Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Bhupinder Singh Hooda, UP sand mining scam, Saradha and Rosevalley chit fund probes, FIR against former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, among others. 

Citing Shukla’s lack of experience in anti-corruption investigations, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, in a dissent note to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressed his objection over the appointment. 

The appointment of Shukla comes following two meetings of the PM Modi-led selection committee held on January 24 and February 1. 

Shukla’s name was shortlisted during the second meeting of the selection committee held on Friday. 

The development assumes significance as on Friday, the Supreme Court had said it was “averse” to the arrangement of an interim CBI director and asked the Centre to “immediately” appoint a regular chief of the probe agency. 

The post of CBI director is “sensitive” and “important”, and it is not good to keep an interim director of the agency for longer period, the top court observed and sought to know as to why the government had not made the appointment. 

The post of the CBI chief has been lying vacant since January 10 after the unceremonious exit of Verma, who had been engaged in a bitter fight with Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana over corruption charges. 

Both Verma and Asthana had accused each other of corruption. 

M Nageswara Rao has been working as the interim CBI chief after Verma’s ouster. 

Friday’s meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s residence – that lasted for over an hour – and attended by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge, who is the leader of the largest opposition party in Lok Sabha. 

Verma, after being removed from the post of CBI director by the PM-led panel, was named as the director General of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards – a less significant portfolio. 

Verma did not accept the offer and wrote to the government, saying he should be considered as deemed superannuated as he had 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. 

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