HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Modi to be first PM to visit CBI HQ in 17 years

DK Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 10, 2014
First Published: 00:44 IST(10/8/2014) | Last Updated: 12:50 IST(12/8/2014)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters in Delhi on August 23, the prime minister’s office (PMO) has indicated.

Although he holds charge of the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions under which the premier investigating agency functions, Modi will be the first PM in over one-and-a-half decades — HD Deve Gowda being the last one — to visit its head office.

Official sources said the date of the visit was tentative and further details were being worked out by the PMO.

The visit assumes significance as it comes in the backdrop of the agency’s prolonged and often unsavoury run-ins with the previous UPA government.

The Congress-led regime received severe flak for reducing the CBI to what was described as a “caged parrot” and had to drop then law minister Ashwani Kumar for interfering in the agency’s functioning.

Modi is likely to use his visit to reiterate his government’s commitment to the agency’s independence.

When in opposition, the BJP had constantly targeted the UPA regime for misusing the CBI for political purposes and undermining its autonomy.

Minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh had earlier visited the CBI headquarters and assured that the NDA regime was determined to uphold the credibility and sanctity of the CBI. Presently, the agency is investigating several politically sensitive cases, including alleged fake encounters in Gujarat and the Saradha chit fund scam in West Bengal.

The PM’s visit also comes ahead of CBI director Ranjit Sinha’s retirement on November 30. Former Odisha DGP Prakash Mishra, who was brought to the Centre as special secretary (internal security) in the ministry of home affairs, is tipped to be the front-runner to replace Sinha.

Sources said the Odisha government had been disinclined to allow Mishra to go for central deputation and the NDA regime had to use all its political leverage with chief minister Naveen Patnaik to persuade him to relieve Mishra.

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