IPS officer Archana Ramasundaram today took over as Additional Director of CBI, becoming the first woman to be elevated to this level in the probe agency.
It was home coming for Ramasundaram, a 1980 batch officer of Tamil Nadu cadre, who had earlier served in the agency as Deputy Inspector General and later as its first woman Joint Director, handling cases pertaining to economic offences between 1999 and 2006, which includes Telgi stamp scam. The name of 56-year-old Ramasundram was recommended by CBI Director Ranjit Sinha to the Department of Personnel which oversees the functioning of the agency.
Ramasundaram's name was cleared by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
However, her appointment has generated a controversy as CBI locked horns with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and Home Ministry over the choice. The row broke out after CVC and the Union Home Secretary had recommended another officer who was opposed by the CBI Director.
After her appointment, a PIL was filed in Allahabad High Court challenging the decision of the government. It was rejected by the court saying "...we may observe that the appointment of an individual in CBI cannot be a subject-matter of judicial review in our jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India in a public interest litigation at the instance of a third person."
Her appointment has once again been challenged in the Supreme Court by journalist Vineet Narain after which a bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha issued a notice to the Centre and Ramasundaram asking them to file their responses. The matter will come up for hearing tomorrow and CBI is likely to request the court for impleading the probe agency. The PIL filed by Narain did not name CBI as a respondent to the petition.