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CBI brass probing 2G set to change

BS Reporter/New Delhi 23 Nov 12 | 12:46 AM

A change of guard at the country’s leading investigative agency is round the corner. Not only will the director at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), A P Singh, hang his boots this month, the entire brass investigating the second generation (2G) telecom spectrum allocation case is set to change.

The second-in-command, special director V K Gupta, is set to retire in December. Joint director H C Awasthi, who’s supervising the probe, is also near the end of his term, in April 2013. With the demise of S K Palsania, deputy inspector general and a top investigating officer in the case, earlier this month, the agency has yet another slot to fill.

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What does this mean for the ongoing investigations, for instance the Aircel-Maxis matter for which a CBI team had flown to Malaysia a few months ago? “This would not impact the investigation, since the officers are not retiring all at once. Besides, these are supervising officers; a lot of the team still remains the same," said a senior official of CBI. The investigation in the telecom case started in 2010, after the Central Vigilance Commission referred the matter to CBI.

Ranjit Sinha appointed new CBI director
Senior IPS officer Ranjit Sinha was today appointed as the the next director of Central Bureau of Investigation for a two-year term.

Sinha, a 1974 batch officer of the Bihar cadre, is presently Director General of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force. He also headed the Railway Protection Force and served at senior positions in the CBI in Patna and Delhi.

An official order put out this evening said Sinha has been appointed as CBI Director for a "period of two years from the date of assumption of office." He will take over charge from present CBI Director A P Singh who is retiring on November 30.

CBI's present Director A P Singh's tenure ends on November 30. Apparently peeved over non-inclusion of his name among the shortlisted officers, Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar has moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). Kumar, a 1976 batch IPS officer, has approached the Tribunal questioning the procedure for picking the three officers and excluding his name for the top post of CBI. A Central Vigilance Commissioner-headed selection committee shortlisted three senior IPS officials including Sinha; Director General of National Investigation Agency S C Sinha (Haryana:1975); and former UP D G Atul (UP:1976). As per the norms, a six-member committee led by Central Vigilance Commissioner selects three officers for the post of CBI Director. The committee includes Home Secretary, Personnel Secretary, incumbent CBI Director and two Vigilance Commissioners. The selected officer gets a fixed tenure of two years as the CBI Director, only has to present evidence and hard facts as the investigation is over. For other cases, which are still being probed, some impact would be felt," said Majeed Memon, a senior advocate.

CBI has also finished its investigation in connection with the spectrum allocation to Bharti Airtel and Hutch during Late Pramod Mahajan’s tenure as telecom minister and the chargesheet is pending attorney general’s approval. The probe against Dayanidhi Maran, former telecom minister who’s allegedly linked to Aircel’s sale of stake to Maxis, is still under way.

“This case is very technical in nature and understanding of the policy matters requires a lot of reading. For whoever takes charge next, that will also be a challenge," a senior lawyer in the 2G case said.

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