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CBI chief: Madhya Pradesh & CRPF DGPs, ex-No 2 Rakesh Asthana among contenders

CBI chief: Madhya Pradesh & CRPF DGPs, ex-No 2 Rakesh Asthana among contenders
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NEW DELHI: Madhya Pradesh Director General of Police RK Shukla tops the shortlist of officers who will be considered for the post of CBI Director by a high-powered committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday.

According to highly placed sources, the shortlist of 33 aspirants was carved out of an initial list of 82. Shukla, a member of the 1985 IPS cadre, had taken over the Madhya Pradesh police force on July 1, 2016. Among the contenders are Central Reserve Police Force Director-General RR Bhatnagar; CBI Special Director Arvind Kumar (1984 batch); Javeed Ahmed of the Uttar Pradesh cadre; and Director General (Bureau of Police Research) AP Maheswari.

Former CBI number two Rakesh Asthana is still in the running but is graded at 94.94 - way below the other contenders. Also going against him is a first information report lodged by the very investigation agency he wants to head. He has been a part of the CBI for over six years now.

The CBI had descended into unprecedented turmoil after its former chief, Alok Verma, and his deputy, Rakesh Asthana, were moved out in close succession after an extended public spat.

A case challenging the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as the interim CBI Director has also come under a cloud, with three top judges recusing themselves from the case for various reasons.

Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has decided to take action against former CBI boss Alok Verma for not taking charge as Director General, Fire Services after he was sacked as the chief of the country's premier investigation agency earlier this month. All retirement benefits of Alok Verma will be put on hold, and disciplinary proceedings will be initiated against him for not joining the new posting, a senior official in the ministry said.

A senior minister said Alok Verma's resignation would not be accepted until the investigation against him is completed.

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