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Nov 23, 2012 at 10:32pm IST

Storm over CBI director's appointment, BJP writes to PM

New Delhi: It is not just the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) which is in the eye of a storm. The new Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director's appointment is also caught in a political tug of war. Top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh questioning the appointment of the new CBI Director, Ranjit Sinha, before the new Lokpal norms come in.

In the wake of the developments, 24 hours after he was appointed the new CBI Director, Ranjit Sinha's new position hangs in balance. First Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar dragged the government to CAT over why he was ignored, and just when he decided to withdraw his plea on grounds of it being infructuous, the Opposition stirred the pot afresh.

The BJP has written to the Prime Minister asking why Sinha was appointed when select committee recommended that Lokpal bill would give the power of appointment to a panel of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of India. With the BJP's contention that government deliberately rushed to appoint Sinha to supersede the passage of the Lokpal bill, activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal's aide Prashant Bhushan also joined ranks with the Opposition.

The government was quick to hit back, arguing that it had followed procedure and law of land in appointing the new CBI director. The government argued that as per the Supreme Court-laid guidelines, it was the Prime Minister's prerogative to choose from a CVC-appointed panel of officers. Sinha was appointed after the CVC recommended a panel of three officers, including Ranjit Sinha, DG ITBP, SC Sinha, DG NIA and Atul, DG Home guards UP.

The government has also taken the plea that there is doubt weather Lokpal bill currently pending in Rajya Sabha can be passed by both houses before November 30, the day current CBI director AP Singh retires.

In the past, the government has appointed a new CBI Director on the day the incumbent retires or after his retirement. This was the first time that staffers in the CBI building know a week in advance who would succeed AP Singh, but with BJP citing the Lokpal bogey, is the top job at the CBI up for grabs again?