Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday night rejected the Bharatiya Janata Party's demand to hold in abeyance appointment of new Central Bureau of Investigation Director Ranjit Sinha and termed as "unwarranted" insinuation the charge that the decision was to preempt the procedure recommended by the Select Committee on Lokpal.
In a letter to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley, the prime minister said the premier investigating agency could not be kept without a head pending the enactment of the Lokpal and "the question of keeping the new appointment in abeyance does not arise."
Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj had written letters to the prime minister saying that appointment of the new CBI director should not have been done when the Rajya Sabha Select Committee had recommended that such appointments should be done through a collegium.
The prime minister said "insinuation that the appointment was made to preempt the procedure recommended by the Select Committee is wholly unwarranted and devoid of any merit."
"I also refute the suggestion that the appointments to this post in the past by the UPA Government were motivated by collateral considerations," he said.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was still awaiting passage in the Rajya Sabha and it was referred to a Select Committee which has tabled its report today in the Rajya Sabha, Singh said.
"Many changes have been suggested by the Select Committee which are required to be considered by the government for introducing official amendments. After the Bill as amended is duly passed by the Rajya Sabha, it will be returned to the Lok Sabha for further consideration," he said.
He said even as the government was making all efforts to enact the new law, the top post in the CBI could not be kept vacant.
"Under the circumstances the Government has, in public interest, made the appointment in accordance with the provisions of the CVC Act as presently applicable and the extant procedures, which had been set in motion much earlier," the prime minister said.
Sinha, a 1974 batch officer of Bihar cadre, has been appointed as the next CBI chief. He is presently the director general of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police force.