The search for the head of three vital agencies dealing with intelligence and investigation has began.
While the government is in the process of finalising who would lead the CBI, IB and R&AW, there seems to be no movement in filling the vacancy for the position of secretary (security) which has been vacant for the past six months.
The CBI chief Amar Pratap Singh is due for superannuation on November 30, the IB and R&AW will have to have new bosses before the year-end.
For the CBI, the government has shortlisted three candidates-SCSinha, DG, NIA, Ranjit Sinha, DG, ITBP and Atul Gupta, former DG, Uttar Pradesh.
Two other candidates-Delhi Police chief Neeraj Kumar and Vineet Kumar, senior-most special director in the CBI, who were overlooked controversially despite being part of the original list of five, are said to be unhappy.
In IB, there are five contenders - Ram Niwas Gupta, V Rajgopal and Yashovardhan Azad, all 1976 batch IPS officers and S Jai Raman and Asif Ibrahim of the 1977 batch.
Both Rajgopal and Gupta retire in a month unless one of them gets the top job, which has a fixed tenure of two years. Jai Raman has served the IB in the South, but has no head quarters experience. Like Raman, Ibrahim will have to overcome the seniority hurdle.
Azad suffers from a handicap that he is BJP MP Kirti Azad's brother though his father was a Congress CM.
There is also a talk of the present director Nehchal Sandhu getting an extension though this has no precedence.
In contrast, there are just two contenders for the R&AW top post, now headed by Sanjeev Tripathi, who retires on December 31, the same day as the IB director.
They are Alok Joshi, 1976 batch Haryana cadre officer and Amitabh Mathur, a 1977 batch Manipur and Tripura cadre officer who switched to RAS from the IPS in 1981.
Joshi has been both with the Haryana police and IB and is a relative new comer in R&AW. His highpoint in the agency has been the three-year stint in Nepal.
Mathur has served the organisation uninterrupted for 31 years and has anchored neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, crucial to India's security concerns.
Unlike other agencies, the R&AW has an internal cadre (RAS) and yet is open to IPS at various levels.
According to a former chief of R&AW, "The outsider versus insider is a recurring theme each time the top job is up for grabs. The government is once again facing this dilemma of having to choose between the seniority of an outsider and the experience of an insider."