A day before CBI Director Anil Sinha demits office, suspense continues over who would succeed him, amid indications that the government may not appoint a full-fledged chief of the premier investigative agency anytime soon.
The CBI Director is selected by a collegium comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition or leader of largest party in opposition in the Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India.
With a day left for Sinha's tenure to end, it is likely that the charge of Director, CBI would be handed over to the senior-most officer of the agency on an ad-hoc basis till the trio meets and finalises the new chief.
In a surprise move on Wednesday night, R K Dutta, who was serving as Special Director and was considered a possible successor to Sinha, was shifted to the Home Ministry as Special Secretary, fuelling speculation that Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana, an Additional Director in CBI, might take over from Sinha temporarily, sources said.
Home Ministry officials rejected suggestions that Dutta was shunted out of CBI to facilitate appointment of someone "favoured" as the next Director. "Dutta will be given the responsibility of (supervising cases of) terror financing and a few other key divisions in the Home Ministry," a senior official said.
Sinha, who took charge of CBI when it was facing criticism for being being a “caged parrot” of its political masters, was able to steady the ship. He maintained a low profile and avoided unnecessary media limelight.
He guided the agency sleuths in probing important cases like Sheena Bora murder case and Vijay Mallya loan default case.