- CBI officer RK Dutta has been transferred to the Home Ministry
- He was the investigating officer in the coal allocation and 2G cases
- The 1981 cadre IPS officer was also in line to be the next CBI chief
The Supreme Court has ordered that no CBI officer involved in investigating either of the two high-profile and sensitive corruption cases must be moved out.
CBI director Anil Sinha, who retires tomorrow, told NDTV that he was no role to play in the decision. "It is the government's decision,'' he said.
While Mr Dutta refused to comment, a law officer connected with the coal case alleged that the transfer is a breach of the Supreme Court's orders. "The court says that you have to take its permission before transferring anybody,'' he said.
But government sources argued that Mr Dutta was in a supervisory role and not an investigating officer whose exit will affect the cases. He has been posted in the internal security department till October 31, 2017, his date of his superannuation, which effectively cancels him out for the CBI top post.
The transfer of Mr Dutta, a 1981-cadre Indian Police Service officer, has sparked speculation on who will replace Mr Sinha and has brought focus on RK Asthana, an officer from the Gujarat cadre three years Mr Dutta's junior, who is believed to be the Modi government's choice for the post.
Six officers including Mr Dutta and two women officers Meera Borvankar and Archana Ramasundaram have been named on an appointments panel for which the CBI chief for the appointments panel to choose from but the government could well go with an outside choice altogether.
The selection of a new CBI director has been controversial before. The previous chief Ranjit Sinha was picked over then Delhi police commissioner Neeraj Kumar, who was next in line. Earlier, Ashwani Kumar, considered close to the Congress' first family the Gandhis, was picked over the then senior-most officer ML Sharma.
But, said a senior IPS officer, never has the next-in-line been shifted so close to the selection process.