Kicking off an overhaul of the intelligence establishment, the government has started the process of short listing senior sleuths to lead four key security and investigative agencies including the internal and external spy agencies.
This will be the first big change in the two intelligence agencies — Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) — and the technical intelligence arm, National Technical Research Organisation after the 26/11 attacks.
Government sources said consultations had already started for the selection of the chiefs.
IB director Rajiv Mathur completes his two-year term next month and the agency's counter-terrorism expert, Nehchal Sandhu, is expected to step into his shoes. Sandhu is an IPS Bihar cadre officer.
The R&AW chief KC Verma has time till January-end but is open to quitting a few months ahead if he can make it to the National Disaster Management Authority as a member, a fixed tenure job with a minister of state status. This will ensure that Research and Analysis Service officer Sanjeev Tripathi would stay in the race for the top job.
The Central Vigilance Commission is also expected to propose a panel of police officers for the next chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Sources said there was an informal decision not to give CBI directors an extension. There is, however, speculation that Ashwani Kumar still may get one, particularly if the Supreme Court raises questions on the Central Vigilance Commissioner PJ Thomas' appointment to the anti-graft watchdog though he still has a pending case.