The government hurriedly appointed Ranjit Sinha as the next CBI director late Thursday, apparently to stonewall intervention by the Central Administrative Tribunal that will hear Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar’s petition on Friday.
Kumar had last week dragged the government to the tribunal, complaining he’d been unfairly overlooked for the post on the grounds that a government official he had arrested for bribery had accused him of criminal intimidation and illegal confinement.
Government sources hinted the appointment order was expected to restrict the tribunal from granting interim relief to Kumar.
A 1974 batch Bihar cadre IPS officer, Sinha serves as Indo-Tibetan Border Police director general, a responsibility assigned to him in September 2011 after several months out in the cold. Mamata Banerjee had shunted him out of the Railway Protection Force chief’s post in May 2011.
Sinha might be the last CBI director to be appointed at government discretion. The Rajya Sabha panel that studied the lokpal bill has recommended the government be stripped of this power and the decision be left to a panel comprising the PM, the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and the chief justice of India.
This is the first time the UPA government has named a CBI chief a week before the incumbent retires. Current director AP Singh and his predecessor Ashwani Kumar were appointed a day before they were to take charge. Before them, Vijay Shankar, was appointed a week after his predecessor demitted office.