PMO, CVC at loggerheads over top CBI appointment

The government and the Central Vigilance Commission are reportedly at loggerheads over appointment of Archana Ramasundram as the Central Bureau of Investigation's additional director by the prime minister's office.

The CVC feels that the PMO has flouted established procedures by appointing Ramasundram without receiving clearance from the CVC.

Section 26 of the CVC Act requires that the CBI additional director's appointment be cleared by the CVC.

According to reports, the PMO appointed Ramasundram, a Tamil Nadu cadre Indian Police Service officer, at the insistence of CBI chief Ranjit Sinha.

The CVC had reportedly recommended an IPS officer from the West Bengal cadre, R K Pachnanda, to the post. The PMO, however, ignored CVC's recommendation.

A news channel reports that the CVC will write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh mentioning that it does not recognise the appointment of Ramasundram as the CBI's additional director.

The BJP and Congress are at the loggerheads over the issue. Reacting to the issue, a newspaper today quoted BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman as saying, ''The government is imposing its officers on CBI. Inadvertent mistakes don't happen in such high-level appointments. There is a clear violation of rules in this appointment.''

Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha, however, defended the appointment, saying, "The government sought the opinion of the Law Ministry and Solicitor-General on the appointment. All factors were taken into consideration. The country has got an additional CBI director who is extremely competent.''

The CVC was set up in 1964 and has evolved over the decades from a single-member body to multi-member statutory body.