Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi is back in the race for a post-retirement job. This time, he is in the running for the information commissioner’s chair.
Bassi is among the 14 civil servants shortlisted for the three vacant information commissioner’s post by a search panel headed by cabinet secretary.
The selection panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet soon to take the call for filling three vacancies. Apart from Bassi, others in the running include former I&B secretary Bimal Jhulka, former DoPT secretary Shyamal Sarkar and a retired high court judge Ravi R Tripathi.
Earlier in January, the Supreme Court had given the government six weeks to fill vacancies in the information watchdog after some RTI activists moved court.
The selection committee meeting could be held as early as Friday, just in time before the SC deadline ends.
The 1977-batch IPS officer had set his eyes on the information watchdog around September last year. The chief information commissioner’s (CIC) post was due to fall vacant in December. Besides, there were three vacancies of information commissioners.
Bassi – who was due to retire in February-end – had applied for the two posts. The CIC’s chair comes with the rank of a Supreme Court judge; the IC gets the status of a high court judge. Both posts, however, are on a five-year term.
Bassi’s claim for the CIC didn’t go anywhere. Last month, former defence secretary RK Mathur took charge as CIC.
But trying to make it past the finishing line this time too might be much more difficult than battling with the Aam Aadmi Party government that often accuses him of letting the BJP’s interests dictate his decisions, not public interest.
It is an accusation that has grown louder in recent days after police slapped sedition charges on JNU students.
It is not clear if the Congress would support Bassi, a posting that could be seen as a reward for the police action.
Apart from government ministers such as Jitendra Singh, leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge is also a member of the selection committee headed by Modi that will take the call.