When CBI recommended 5-year tenure for its chief but govt rejected it

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Having a high-powered committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, and Chief Justice of India, to select the CBI director was another key recommendation the agency made in 2012. This panel has appointed CBI chiefs since 2014

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recommended a five-year tenure for its director in 2012, but the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government rejected the idea. The then CBI director A P Singh argued the agency needs continuity at the top so that crucial corruption probes can be taken to logical conclusions considering many high-profile cases linger on for years. He argued by the time an important development takes place, a new director joins the agency.

A single 10-year term for the Federal Bureau of Investigation director was also cited to bolster the argument.

A select committee of the Rajya Sabha examined the matter and rejected it. It said the CBI director, as well as its prosecution wing chief, shall have a fixed term of two years.

Having a high-powered committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, and Chief Justice of India, to select the CBI director was another key recommendation the agency made at that time. This panel has appointed CBI chiefs since 2014.

Singh refused to comment but a former CBI officer said having fixed five-year tenure for the director would have been ideal but the latest arrangement of having three extensions of one year each after a two-year term is also welcome.

Also Watch: Why ordinance on CBI and ED Directors’ tenure has outraged many

“Only problem is that the CBI and ED (Enforcement Directorate) directors will now actively want their tenure extended every year after two-year fixed terms, which may hit the objectivity and government line will be toed,” said the officer, who did not want to be named. This officer added that since the ED director can now also get a total of five-year tenure, the selection for the post should also be done by a high-powered committee on the lines of the CBI director. Currently, the ED chief is selected by a panel led by the chief vigilance commission and comprises vigilance commissioners, Union personnel, and revenue secretaries.

Two ordinances introduced on Sunday empowered the Centre to post the chiefs of CBI and ED for up to five years – with an extension up to three years beyond the fixed tenure of two years. The decision is likely to benefit current ED chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra, who completes his tenure this week. The Supreme Court in September asked the government not to give him any further extension.

Opposition parties have slammed the ordinances as illegal.

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