The Union government has given a year-long extension to Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) secretary Samant Goel and Intelligence Bureau (IB) director Arvind Kumar.
The officers, both of whom belong to the 1984 batch of Indian Police Service (IPS), were due to retire on June 30.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the extension for a period of one year beyond June 30, 2021.
While Mr Goel is an IPS officer from the Punjab cadre, Mr Kumar belongs to the Assam and Meghalaya cadre.
Earlier, in 2019, the government had given six-month extensions to the then R&AW Secretary Anil Dhasmana and then director of IB Rajeev Jain. Both retired on June 30 that year. Mr Dhasmana now heads the National Technical Research Organisation.
Insiders claim that the extensions indicated that the government wants to work with familiar officers. "Uttar Pradesh and Punjab go to polls early next year, so these extensions are very significant politically as well," a senior bureaucrat said. He added that both officers have a good rapport with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. "Mr Goel is known for his operations and Mr Kumar for his political acumen. The government relies on their reports," he said.
The extension of Mr Kumar's tenure will not affect the prospects of the officer next in line to head IB as he retires only in August 2023. But in the case of R&AW, two officers who were in line to head the agency after Mr Goel will now retire before his tenure ends in June 2022.
The two extensions came soon after the government appointed 1985-batch IPS officer Subodh Jaiswal as the CBI director.
More appointments are on the cards as NIA director general Y C Modi is due to retire on May 30 and BSF director general Rakesh Asthana's tenure ends on July 31. With the appointment of Mr Jaiswal as CBI director, the post of CISF director general is also vacant now.