Jaitley defends remarks on CBI chief appointment

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley Sunday said their suggestion to the Prime Minister on appointment of CBI director was entirely for "institutional reforms" and not person-centric. "We were concerned only with institutional reforms (regarding CBI), our suggestion was not person-centric and if somebody deliberately tries to misunderstand this fact then he is being more than unfair," Jaitley said.

Jaitley along with BJP leader in Lok Sabha Shushma Swaraj had written letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that the appointment of new CBI director Ranjit Sinha should not have been done when the Rajya Sabha Select Committee had recommended that such appointments should be done through a collegium.

However, the PM, in his reply, had said "insinuation that the appointment was made to preempt the procedure recommended by the Select Committee is wholly unwarranted and devoid of any merit." "The experience in relation to the functioning of CBI over the last few years has been extremely disappointing. The fact that the Select Committee was absolutely unanimous that a collegium of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India would appoint CBI director, this itself is a very significant institutional reform," Jaitley said.

"Sushmaji and I had therefore suggested to the Prime Minister that once this has been unanimously recommended the government ought to have waited for few days. Heaven does not fall if the post is vacant for four or five days," he said.

"Obviously the government was not serious about the issue, it wanted to frustrate this recommendation and therefore few hours before the recommendations of the Select Committee were tabled in Parliament, the government made the appointment unilaterally of the CBI director," Jaitley said. Speaking on the issue of allegations of corruption against BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Jaitley said, "Our party president has already said that allegations should be probed, the probe is going on and to make any other statement at this stage will not be proper. However, in the Congress those who face allegations of corruption are not ready even to face probe."

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