As tenure of heads of India's intelligence agencies come to an end, the government is working overtime to look for replacements.
Sources in government indicate that while new incumbents are being shortlisted, a major shake up is already going on at Research And Analysis Wing (R&AW), India's external intelligence agency.
Close to 50 officers, say sources, are being shifted or shunted out or acted against departmentally, of its operational intelligence unit, for an alleged information leak.
"Nearly fifty officers which includes directors and joint secretaries are either being repatriated, transferred or departmentally dealt with for some leakage and unprofessional conduct," a senior officer said, adding that both agencies - Intelligence Bureau and R&AW - are investigating the matter separately.
The government is in the process of finding replacements for chiefs Arvind Kumar (Intelligence Bureau) and Samant Goel (R&AW). The source says Mr Kumar and Mr Goel might not get extension and may be replaced.
"As per rule both can be given another extension but due to this internal shake up it seems unlikely," says a source.
Last year, the Centre had stated if necessary, in the public interest, the Union Government can extend the services of the Defence Secretary, Home Secretary, Director of Intelligence, and Secretary of the Research and Analysis Wing. According to the new rule, the service extension will not be for more than two years.
Meanwhile, the process of finding new incumbents is being strictly done.
Among the frontrunners for the post of IB chief is 1987 batch Bihar cadre IPS officer A S Rajan, who is currently serving as number two in the Intelligence Bureau. Rajan has served as Deputy Director and Joint Director in Gujarat and is rated highly by the government.
Shri A.S. Rajan, IPS, Special Director, Intelligence Bureau, MHA, Govt of India called on me at Raj Bhavan, Imphal West. pic.twitter.com/TgeS4EJdkU— Governor of Manipur (@manipurgovernor) April 6, 2022
He was also given the prize posting at the London office for the agency.
"He has been touring various states also meeting constitutional heads," says another source.
Another officer who is being considered for IB chief is 1988 batch officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre Tapan Deka. Presently, he is Special Director and also in charge of Counter Terror operations in Kashmir.
"He is considered sincere officer and has worked in Assam, looked after Counter Terror Operations and now is also handling Kashmir," says another officer.
For R&AW, sources claim mostly officers from outside the agency are now being considered to head it. "It can be a toss either someone from Bureau or any other agency," adds a source.
Meanwhile, a six-month extension given to CBI Special Director Praveen Sinha on the last day of his service on April 30 "in relaxation of Rule 16(1) of the All India Services" has drawn a lot of attention.
The 1988 batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer is said to be under consideration for the post of CBI director.
Mr Sinha had earlier served as acting chief of the CBI before the present director, Subodh Jaiswal, was given a two-year tenure last year.
Sources say Mr Jaiswal is being considered as a replacement of the current chief.
Mr Jaiswal was station head of R&AW in Mumbai in 2008 when the attack took place. "He has served most of his time in agency," says an official.