Delhi Police commissioner Alok Kumar Verma, a 1979 batch Indian Police Service officer, has emerged as the frontrunner for the post of director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), government sources said, adding a formal announcement is expected soon.
A three-member committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi selected Verma as the CBI chief, a source in the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Sources said the government placed three names before the panel — also comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge — for consideration.
These officials were: Verma, home ministry official RK Dutta and Maharashtra DGP SC Mathur.
Verma, of the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre, had a higher grading and was the senior-most among the shortlisted candidates.
Verma was the Delhi Police chief for the last 11 months.
However, Kharge, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, gave a dissent note, saying that he was not given enough time to go through the credentials of the officials in fray, said the source in the PMO.
The post of the director of the country’s premier probe agency, CBI, was vacant for over a month following Anil Sinha’s retirement on December 2. Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana was acting as the interim director of the agency.
A list of about 45 eligible IPS officers was sent to the PMO for consideration as the next CBI director.
One of the senior most officers in the country today, Verma was earlier the director general of Tihar prisons and the police chief of Mizoram.
He has also served as the joint and special commissioner of the Delhi Police crime branch between August 2007 and December 2008. Verma’s tenure as police chief till now has been without any controversy.
Senior police officers say though many Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs have been arrested during Verma’s tenure, the ruling party hasn’t vociferously accused him of working for his political bosses.
Verma is also not outspoken as his predecessor BS Bassi and is yet to give any interview as the police commissioner. Unlike his predecessor or the police chief of other metros, Verma hardly uses the Delhi Police commissioner’s Twitter handle.
Verma created a record of sorts when he pushed for the promotion of over 26,000 Delhi Police officers in December last year. The Union ministry of home affairs finally consented and gave a green signal to promote the officers, most of whom were working without a promotion for over two decades.
His appointment as the CBI director is his 24th posting in his 36-year career as a police officer.
Verma is due to retire in July but the government could give him an extension. Delhi Police officers say Verma holds several meetings with his top brass and does not believe in micromanaging the units.