New CBI chief's appointment: PM rejects BJP demand

Taking the controversy over new CBI Director Ranjit Sinha's appointment to another level, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh late on Friday night, rejected BJP's demand to withhold the appointment.

Earlier on the day, voicing 'disapproval' of the appointment of new CBI chief, BJP wrote to PM saying it should be kept in abeyance as a parliamentary committee on Lokpal has unanimously recommended that it should be done by a colleguim.

Replying to the demand, PM said, "As you are aware, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2011 is still awaiting passage in the Rajya Sabha." PM's reaction was also tweeted by his official Twitter handle @PMOIndia.

Speaking on the Lokpal Bill, Manmohan Singh added, "Many changes have been suggested by the Select Committee which are required to be considered by the government for amendments. After the Bill as amended is duly passed by the Rajya Sabha, it will be returned to the Lok Sabha for further consideration.

"A premier agency like the CBI cannot be left without an administrative head pending the enactment of the new law. The Government has, in public interest, made the appointment in accordance with the provisions of the CVC Act," the tweet read.

Singh hit back at BJP saying, 'the insinuation that the appointment was made to pre-empt the procedure recommended by the Select Committee is wholly unwarranted'.

"In view of the above (circumstances), the question of keeping the new appointment in abeyance does not arise," Prime Minister added.

In the reply, PM also said, "I also refute the suggestion that the appointments to this post in the past ... were motivated by collateral considerations."

Earlier on the day, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, Leaders of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively, said in a joint written letter to the Prime Minister that the decision appointing Sinha as the next CBI Chief should be kept on hold till the collegium system becomes a law as recommended by Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Lokpal.

The Select Committee report was tabled in Rajya Sabha on Friday.

"This is a matter on record that hours before this recommendation (of the Select Committee) was tabled on the floor of the Rajya Sabha, the Government has chosen to appoint a CBI Director for a period of two years... We must record our strong disappointment and disapproval of this act of the
government," the letter said.

BJP said that the manner in which the government has made this appointment ahead of the tabling of this recommendation in Rajya Sabha, leads one to conclude that the government wanted to pre-empt the possibility of this recommendation at least in the case of Sinha's appointment.

"We would request you to revisit this matter and keep this appointment in abeyance till such time this
recommendation becomes a law of the land. Hopefully this can happen in the next few days," Swaraj and Jaitley had said.

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