Union Law and Justice Minister Ashwani Kumar on Friday defended the government's decision to appoint ITBP chief Ranjit Sinha as the next Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Kumar said the Prime minister was well within his rights to appoint Sinha as the next CBI chief.
"The prime minister is fully within his legal rights to take the decision that he has taken. In the absence of a new provision having been enacted into law," said Kumar.
He was responding to a joint letter sent by Leaders of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that Sinha's appointment be kept on hold till a collegiate was set up to clear such crucial appointment.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V Naryanasamy said: "As far as the procedure that has been followed by the government is that the CVC (Chief Vigilance Commissioner) has to proceed and finalize the names. The CVC sat and discussed and then they finalized the names. Ranjit Sinha, Sarat Sinha and Atul. From Uttar Pradesh. Three names have been finalized and ultimately it is the prime minister's authority to decide and the prime minister in his wisdom considered Ranjit Sinha, being a senior 1974 batch officer and he is the senior most amongst the officers."
Congress leader Sandeep Dixit said: "I don't know if there has been any formal announcement on this. Even if it has happened then it is through a process. If u start objecting from the start then it is not correct. The BJP is only playing politics. The post of the CBI director is not political, it is nominated through a process and it should remain like that. If you politicises every post then the government cannot function."
Anti-graft activist Manish Sisodia said: "This might be an exception but generally the opposition and the government have a deal over such matters. It is possible that this is an exception like it happened during the appointment of the CVC. Normally we don't even get to know about such appointments. So as long as the deal is not being finalized, the opposition will keep protesting."
Sinha, a 1974 batch IPS officer of the Bihar cadre, is likely to take charge of the CBI from Amar Pratap Singh, who retires on November 30. (ANI)