Anil Sinha, new CBI director, takes charge

  • First selection under Lokpal Act
  • Merit was the sole criterion
  • Low profile, hardworking
  • Succeeds the man who brought him to CBI

New Delhi, December 4: Anil Kumar Sinha, 58, who took over as chief of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday, is considered to be an officer of impeccable integrity and high merit. He belongs to 1979 batch of IPS. It was for the first time that a three member committee has selected the chief of the premier investigative agency in accordance with the Lokpal Act which came into being recently. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of Supreme Court Justice HL Dattu and Leader of (Opposition) Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge, made the choice although there were officers with more seniority than Anil Sinha. The selection was entirely based on merit.

It is interesting to note that Anil Kumar Sinha was brought to the CBI by the outgoing chief Ranjit Sinha. The context was the time at which Ranjit was under a lot of pressure after he allowed the then Union Law Minister Ashwini Kumar to vet his report to be submitted to the apex court in May, 2013. The report on a number of political sensitive issues including 2G spectrum case led to a controversy the eye of which was Ranjit. It was then that the CBI chief had asked his friend from the Bihar cadre, Anil Sinha, to join him as his deputy and help handle the hot issues. Since then they was working together and have been maintaining good relations in spite of the senior Sinha getting the flak from the Supreme Court and the media on a regular basis for his strange behaviour which was found objectionable. The flamboyant rights activist Prashant Bhushan made Ranjit Sinha’s life miserable by submitting a list of persons who met the CBI chief at his residence. The concerned people were connected to the cases under investigation under Ranjit Sinha’s watch. Supreme Court was convinced with Prashant Bhushan’s argument and asked the CBI chief to keep away from the 2G scam probe. It was an insult to the officer who was courting controversies in his irrepressible style.

There were 12 IPS officers from 1977 batch and six from 1978 batch. But the ACC has chosen to do away with seniority and go for a person with clean image and proven efficiency. Department of Personnel and Training had shortlisted 40 officers to be considered for the post of director, CBI. Sunil, unlike Ranjit, is soft spoken and believes in keeping low profile. In the run up to Ranjit’s exit, Sunil kept up a straight attitude without rubbing his friend on the wrong side. In fact, Sunil is believed to have spoken at the farewell meeting, organised for Ranjit, in glowing terms about the outgoing director. The plus point that weighed in favour of Sunil Sinha was that he was one officer who did not lobby for the coveted job. Sinha worked as Additional Director of Central Vigilance Commission and his experience there would come handy in tackling difficult issues at the CBI. Another point which must have gone in his favour was that Sunil Sinha is in the know of the ongoing cases under investigation and he is well versed with the contours of the investigation. It is only a question of continuing the job since he was literally running the CBI ever since the apex court had asked Ranjit Sinha to keep away from the most important case.

Soon after taking over the responsibilities, Sinha vowed to preserve the integrity of the country’s premier investigative agency. He has to work hard to protect his own reputation for integrity while working with the political executive in Delhi. It is a tight rope walking for the straight player from Bihar.

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