New Delhi: A case which can be very embarrassing for the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has come out in the public. The PMO has allegedly violated the procedures to appoint an additional director of its choice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). As per rules the additional director's name must be cleared by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).
But, the PMO has not bothered to go by the CVC rules and cleared the appointment of a Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer Archana Ramasundaram to the post of additional director.
According to sources the CVC never recommended her name for the post. Instead it had proposed the name of an IPS officer from West Bengal cadre RK Pachnanda to the post. It has even refused to go back to the CVC.
As per rules the CBI additional director's name must be cleared by the Central Vigilance Commission.
Ignoring the recommendations of the CVC, the PMO went directly to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to clear the name of the officer of its choice.
The CBI is answerable to the CVC. It reports to the DoPT only on administrative matters.
Reacting to this the CVC sources said, "Our select committee never recommended the name of Archana Ramasundram. We gave recommendation of RK Pachnanda. The Appoints Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) got full right to reject, but reasons are to be given in writing with a request to choose another candidate. In this case the DOPT without coming to us again appointed Archana Ramasundram on its own. This is a clear violation of the CVC Act. We will raise our objections with the competent authority on this."
The CBI sources said, "We have nothing to do with this appointment. The CBI Director is only Member Invitee. It's the government's decision to appoint Archana Ramasundram."
Not taking the blame, Minister in the PMO V Narayanasamy said, "It's not my personal decision. Name decided by the ACC." Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth and his secretariat did not respond to the queries on this.
Reacting to this, the BJP said that the CBI has always been a 'Congress Bureau of Investigation'. "CBI additional director's appointment should be scapped," said party leader Nitin Gadkari.
Party leader Nirmala Sitharaman said that this shows how the government functions in complete disregard to rules of appointments in the CBI. "With general elections so close the government wants to appoint their own people in the agency," she added.
CPI's National Secretary, D Raja also said that the PMO should explain how it did such an appointment if it was in violation of the rules.
It raises some serious questions over the motive behind the appointment. The government is accused of trying to post a sympathetic officer to a top post in the CBI ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Strictly going by the rules, her appointment becomes illegal.
The UPA government at the Centre had to face a lot of criticism for appointing PJ Thomas as the CVC in 2011. His appointment was cancelled by the Supreme Court later.PMO violates norms to appoint its choice as CBI Additional Director, Arunoday Mukharji says, it's yet another case which hits the nail in the coffin