February 2, 2019 / 2:26 PM / 8 months ago

India appoints new federal police chief

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Indian government on Saturday appointed a new chief of its federal investigations agency, three weeks after his predecessor was ousted after he and his deputy accused each other of bribery and interfering in investigations.

Rishi Kumar Shukla was appointed director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which fulfils a similar role to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, for a two-year term, the government said.

Shukla is a former director general of police in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, Indian media reports said.

A panel led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last month ousted Alok Verma as CBI chief, three months after he and his deputy had been suspended following a spat which embarrassed the CBI and led to accusations that the government had damaged the independence of the agency.

The CBI is investigating several high profile cases, including a $2 billion fraud at Punjab National Bank involving fugitive diamond billionaire Nirav Modi, loan defaults by liquor baron Vijay Mallya, and police firing on anti-Vedanta protesters in south India.

Reporting by Aditya Kalra; Editing by David Holmes

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