The government on Saturday appointed Rishi Kumar Shukla the new director of the Central Bureau of Investigation for a term of two years, reported The Indian Express.

Shukla, a 1983-batch Indian Police Service\ officer, is the former director general of police of Madhya Pradesh. He is currently the chairman of the Madhya Pradesh Police Housing Corporation.

The Cabinet’s Appointments Committee approved Shukla’s name based on a selection panel’s recommendation. Shukla will take charge from interim director M Nageswara Rao.

Two previous meetings of a selection panel, which was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprised Supreme Court Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, had remained inconclusive.

Kharge objects to Shukla’s appointment

Kharge has expressed his objection over the appointment of Shukla as the new CBI chief. In a dissent note to the prime minister, the Congress leader has reportedly said the officer lacks experience in working in anti-corruption investigations.

Kharge in his note said the three-member committee has violated the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. “By including officers who do not have experience in investigating anti-corruption cases, committee is in violation of DSPE Act and Supreme Court judgements guiding CBI Director’s appointment,” he said, according to PTI.

He further said in his dissent note: “Seniority cannot be only criterion in appointment to such a critical post and experience in anti-corruption cases and prior experience of having served in the organisation should also be considered.”

Union minister Jitendra Singh claimed that Kharge tried to manipulate the criteria for selection of the CBI chief to accommodate some of his preferred officers, PTI reported. “Kharge tried to manipulate the objective criteria, based on independent and impartial assessment, to select CBI Director...He wanted to include some officers of his preference in the short-list of candidates,” Singh, the Union Minister of State for Personnel, told PTI.

Speaking to ANI, Singh said Kharge’s claims were “totally unfounded and not based on facts”. “For the selection of CBI director, a very objective criteria is followed,” said the minister of state for the Prime Minister’s Office.

The CBI row

The previous CBI director, Alok Verma, was removed by the committee on January 10, two days after being reinstated by the Supreme Court. Verma was first removed by the government on October 23 amid infighting at the agency and allegations of corruption. He then challenged the government’s move in the top court.

Nageswara Rao was then appointed the interim chief of the agency. His appointment has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

On Friday, the Supreme Court had questioned the Centre for the delay in appointing a regular director. “Why have you not appointed regular director?” the court had asked Attorney General KK Venugopal. “An interim director can continue for seven or ten days but not for so long.”