Race for next CBI Director: Will Dutta’s boon turn out to be bane?

CBI Director, Next CBI Director

With a little over a month left to select and appoint a successor to CBI Director Anil Kumar Sinha (IPS:1979:BH) whose tenure ends on 02 December this year, the lobbying has intensified for the job.

Among the aspirants, serving Special Director of CBI Rupak Kumar Dutta (IPS:1981:KN) has the maximum experience of serving in the Bureau. He has served in the organization from the SP rank to the Special Director rank post. Rest of the 38 applicants found eligible for the post either served in SP rank or DIG/Jt Director rank but none of them served more than seven years in CBI. Contrary to others, Dutta served in the anti-corruption investigative agency for over 15 years as SP, DIG, Joint Director, Additional Director General and now serving as Spl Director and he is well versed with the ins and outs of CBI affairs.

This may qualify him as the best pick for the top job. But this is where lies the catch. What may appear to be the strength of an officer is taken as his/her weakness by political masters and what appears to be a boon for an officer often proves to be the bane of his career. So the question being asked is whether Dutta’s strength would prove to be his limitation and his advantage over other aspirants may turn out to be his biggest disadvantage.

In addition, Rupak Dutta has many other advantages. Four batches (1979-1982) have been considered for application and he belongs to the next senior batch. Reportedly, the 1982 batch will have the least chance to win the post.

Further, two previous directors AP Singh & Ranjit Sinha, who belonged to Bihar/Jharkhand cadre, caused much embarrassment to the reputation of the agency. The outgoing, too, belongs to Bihar cadre but he maintained the dignity of CBI. There has been a section of speculators who believe that this Govt may choose an officer from outside Bihar/Jharkhand cadre which adds to Dutta’s advantage as well.

In view of the above facts, it may appear that Dutta may be shortlisted but his final selection is not yet certain because no administration follows the best practices of governance.

Under the Lokpal Act, a selection committee, headed by the Prime Minister and comprising the leader of the single largest Opposition party and the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge nominated by him as a member, appoints the CBI Director.

DOPT had begun the process in the last week of June by seeking names of eligible IPS officers from the Home Ministry. Out of about 50 applicants, it, reportedly, has shortlisted 39 applications on the basis of their experience and integrity in investigating anti-corruption cases.

Before the selection panel approves the name, the names of the candidates have to be recommended by another panel consisting of the Central Vigilance Commissioner, the Vigilance Commissioners, the Home Secretary and the Secretary, Coordination and Public Grievances at the Cabinet Secretariat.

One wonders if Dutta fails to get the coveted posting, who will get it?

(Continued….Read Indianmandarins’ next post)

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