|Rai (Left) with CBI Director AP Singh|
Mr Investigator is faceless and plural; could be from CBI, CVC, ED or I-T. He is taking more and more responsibilities, and in that process he has invariably entered a hitherto “no go” area of probing powerful politicians. During the last couple of years, various investigators took politicians head on. And those who bore the brunt included Suresh Kalmadi, A Raja, Kanimozhi, Ashok Chavan, Jagan Mohan Reddy, BS Yeddyurappa, Madhu Koda just to name a few. And the list is fast getting longer.
And that’s precisely why officers with an “investigator” tag are not just feared, they do command more respect in the corridors. Come October, CBI director and 1974 batch Jharkhand cadre IPS officer AP Singh will retire, and the list of aspirants are getting longer. The contenders include ITBP Director General Ranjit Sinha of 1974 batch, National Investigation Agency Director SC Sinha of 1975 batch, Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar of 1976 batch and Vineet Kumar Gupta, a 1977 batch Gujarat cadre IPS who is already a special director in CBI.
The CBI however gets flaks from various quarters for allegedly being partial and too close to the ruling establishment. Anti-corruption activist and former IRS officer Arvind Kejriwal’s December 2011 Jantar Mantar speech (Read: Kejriwal's Speech) is the most frontal attack on the investigating agency. Yet internationally, the CBI is well respected. Interpol chief Ronald K Noble who came to India in December last year, actually praised CBI for its “integrity, independence and impartiality”.
And it’s not CBI alone which woos talented police officers from across cadres. Other agencies too witness lobbying among eligible officers to reach the top investigating job. The classic case is the drama that unfolded before Rajan S Katoch, a 1979 batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS, was chosen as Enforcement Director in March this year. Before Katoch took over, it was more like a musical chair when one officer after another was made and unseated as ED in quick succession. (Read: Musical chair at ED)