Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Praveen Sinha appointed acting CBI chief

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New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) CBI Additional Director Praveen Sinha, a 1988-batch Gujarat cadre IPS, has been appointed acting chief of the agency till a decision on a new director is taken to succeed Rishi Kumar Shukla who retired on Wednesday after a two-year fixed stint. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved Sinha's name. This is the fourth time since 2014 that an acting director has been given charge to look after duties of the CBI chief. Earlier, Rakesh Asthana, then additional director, held the fort before Alok Verma was appointed as Director. M Nageswara Rao, as additional director, took charge of the agency twice when the government removed Asthana and Verma from the agency following allegations of corruption levelled by them against each other. After a probe, the CBI cleared the allegations against Asthana who is now the chief of the BSF.

The CBI director is chosen by a high-powered committee of the prime minister, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India. It is understood that the meeting of the committee could not be convened for choosing Shukla's successor and Sinha, who was next in seniority was given the charge.

An order issued by the Department of Personal and Training on Wednesday stated that Sinha will look after duties of the director with immediate effect till the appointment of a new CBI chief or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

Shukla, a 1983-batch IPS officer, completed his two-year stint in the agency which was marked by Indian victory in London courts allowing extradition of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya and India clinching the hosting of General Assembly of Interpol in 2022, coinciding with the 75th year of Independence.

The Madhya Pradesh cadre, soft spoken officer allowed anyone with a grievance in the agency to walk into his office on Fridays.

During his tenure, the agency caught some notorious paedophiles in the country who were running international racket of producing and selling child sexual abuse material on dark web. Shukla, who was the Madhya Pradesh Director General of Police for three years, took over the reins of the agency on February 4, 2019. A post-graduate in Philosophy, Shukla had served in various positions during his long tenure of about 37 years of service, including as SP of Damoh, Shivpuri, Mandsor; DIG; IGP and ADG and the Intelligence Bureau during Central deputation, a statement from the CBI said.

'It was his endeavour all along to expedite the justice delivery system. Efforts taken by him in this regard led to early conclusion of numerous important trials of heinous crimes resulting in award of exemplary punishment to guilty criminals,' the agency said. PTI ABS AKV ZMN