CBI Director Amar Pratap Singh suggested on Tuesday that the tenure of the investigating agency’s chief should be for at least five years. Due to retire in three days, he also backed the collegium system of selection for the post, a demand made by the BJP in the wake of the government choosing Ranjit Sinha as the new director.
While admitting that the present selection process “as per the procedure mandated by the Supreme Court is absolutely fair and transparent”, Singh said that selection through collegium would bring more “credibility” to the post.
“Selection of future directors by a collegium comprising the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha will ensure that directors are insulated from allegations of being the choice of the government alone.” It would demolish the constant “allegations of bias against the CBI and its director, which are totally unfounded, misconceived and unfortunate”, he said.
“I would also like to point out that the proposal for selection of the CBI director by a collegium was first mooted by the CBI itself. We are happy to note that the select committee has endorsed this view and I am sure that successive directors will look forward to a healthy and meaningful relationship with the Lokpal.”
Singh also termed the select committee accommodating the agency point of view in the Lokpal Bill as the “best success story” of his two-year tenure.
Underlining the need to make the CBI chief's tenure longer, he told The Indian Express: “We have proposed (this) before the committee for the Lokpal Bill. If not five years, the government should consider making the appointment for three years at least... If a director is given a tenure of five years, he can think and implement some long-term goals.”
As per a Supreme Court ruling, the CBI director currently gets a fixed tenure of two years. Their counterparts in the US at FBI and CIA, for example, have directors with terms between five and 10 years.
Singh’s term, that ends on November 30, was marked by high-profile cases such as the 2G and CWG scams, Adarsh Housing, and the Shehla Masood and Bhanwari Devi murders.
Noting there has been a significant increase in the number of cases referred by courts and state governments for CBI probe, he added: “The CBI has the capacity to register and probe nearly 1,000 cases per