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Tuesday, July 1 1997

Gujral sends Joginder Home

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE

NEW DELHI, June 30: In a move which is seen as a desperate ploy by Prime Minister I K Gujral to avert a split in the Janata Dal and woo Laloo Prasad Yadav, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Joginder Singh was today shifted to the Union Home Ministry as Special Secretary. During his eventful and controversial 11-month tenure, he handled several cases, including the Bihar fodder scam, the Bofors and the hawala cases.

Though the eventual removal of Singh was inevitable, the timing seems related to political developments within the party. The decision to remove Singh was taken so swiftly that Cabinet Secretary T S R Subramaniam was assigned the task of informing Joginder Singh about his transfer while he was still out of India on board an aircraft.

The order to shift Singh was cleared by Prime Minister I K Gujral two days ago but was formally passed at 4.45 pm today. Speaking to The Indian Express, Gujral said, ``There will be no let-up in the investigation of political cases, including the fodder scam. All the Special Directors and the staff dealing with these cases will continue as earlier.''

R C Sharma, a 1963 batch Haryana cadre officer who was given one-year extension in January this year, is the new CBI Director. The development took the CBI and the top echelons of the bureaucracy by surprise. Sources say that Singh had resisted Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda's attempt to transfer him by announcing the filing of the charge-sheet in the Bofors case.Senior officials say that Singh, a 1961 batch Karnataka officer scheduled to retire in October this year, had then said that he will only leave the CBI if he was made Governor of a State.

Copyright © 1997 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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