The government on Saturday continued to stand by its decision to appoint Ranjit Sinha as the new director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), maintaining that all stipulated procedures were followed before clearing the file.
The appointment of Ranjit Sinha, a 1974 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer as the successor to Amar Pratap Singh, who will retire on November 30, has been criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which alleged that the decision was taken in a hurry.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy told mediapersons in Chennai that while the government had 'done its duty' where procedure was concerned, the BJP's allegations were unacceptable.
"The present CBI director is retiring in November 2012. That post cannot be kept vacant. Therefore, the Prime Minister, considering and following all the procedures, and following the procedure, the (new) CBI director was appointed. A due reply was given. Therefore, the government has done its duty perfectly well, within the rule of law and also the constitution. But, the objection raised by the BJP for the appointment of CBI director is ill-motivated and the reason that has been given by them cannot be accepted," Narayanasamy said.
The select committee of Parliament on the anti-graft Ombudsman (Lokpal) Bill has suggested that appointments such as that of the CBI chief should be done through the collegium method.
The Congress party contends that the legislation is a lengthy process, and with the current CBI chief's tenure expiring in less than a week, it was imperative that an appointment be made.
Congress leader Jagdambika Pal said in Lucknow that if the BJP wanted appointments of officials made as per the Lokpal Bill, it must facilitate legislation and not obstruct parliamentary work.
"Given how the Parliament is being held up, the BJP should assure the government that it will allow the Lokpal Bill to be passed before November 30. If the BJP gives its support, the Bill will definitely pass," Pal said.
The Lokpal Bill became a rallying cry for civil society activist Anna Hazare and his aides last year, when they called for the setting up of an institution to probe corruption in the Congress-led government, whose credibility had taken a hit after a series of scams, were exposed.
In the 2011 winter session of Parliament, the Lok Sabha (lower house) gave the bill its assent, but disruptions in Rajya Sabha proceedings saw the Bill delayed.
Suspension of Parliamentary activities due to opposition calls for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation over alleged complicity in dubious coal block allocations cost Parliament its monsoon session, further stalling legislation. (ANI)