- DGP RK Shukla tops shortlist of aspirants for the CBI Director's position
- Rakesh Asthana also in the shortlist, but his chances are low
- High-powered panel to take a call on the CBI Director's post soon.
Madhya Pradesh Director General of Police RK Shukla tops the shortlist of officers who will be considered for the post of CBI Director by a high-powered committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge tomorrow.
The shortlist of 33 aspirants -- a copy of which is in NDTV's possession -- was culled out of an initial list of 82. Mr Shukla, a member of the 1985 IPS cadre, had taken over the Madhya Pradesh police force on July 1, 2016. Among the others on the list are Central Reserve Police Force Director General RR Bhatnagar; CBI Special Director Arvind Kumar (1984 batch); Javeed Ahmed of the Uttar Pradesh cadre; and Director General (Bureau of Police Research) AP Maheswari.
Controversial IPS officer Rakesh Asthana is still in the running, but is graded at 94.94 - way below the other contenders. Also going against him is a first information report lodged by the very investigation agency he wants to head. He has been a part of the CBI for over six years now.
The CBI had plummeted into unprecedented turmoil after its former chief, Alok Verma, and his deputy, Rakesh Asthana, were moved out in close succession after an extended public spat.
Mr Asthana had been elevated to the CBI amid controversial circumstances soon after the NDA came to power in 2014, causing resentment in the investigation agency. Mr Verma had been opposing the appointment of Mr Asthana - a Gujarat officer whom Congress chief Rahul Gandhi dubbed "the PM's blue-eyed boy" - from the very start.
The tension between the two officers peaked after Mr Verma's team filed a police case against Mr Asthana, accusing him of taking bribes from a businessman on the agency's radar. Both were sent on forced leave in October as the central government intervened in the intra-departmental feud.
A case challenging the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as the interim CBI Director has also come under a cloud, with three top judges recusing themselves from the case for various reasons.