IPS officers Arvind Kumar and Samant Kumar Goel to head IB and RAW respectively.
The Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the country's external snooping agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) on Wednesday got new chiefs as the government cleared names of Indian Police Service officers Arvind Kumar and Samanat Goel for the coveted posts for a fixed tenure of two years.
Kumar, popularly known as 'AK', and Goel, whose name had come under cloud in a Central Bureau of Investigation bribery case, are experts on Pakistan and had contributed actively in the February 26 Balakot airstrike on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in the neighbouring country.
A 1984-batch IPS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, Kumar has served on important desks of the IB, including Kashmir and Left Wing Extremism, while Goel also of the same batch, but from the Punjab cadre, has served on the Pakistan desk and on groups working against the interest of country from Europe.
Their names were cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for a fixed two-year tenure, an order issued by the Personnel Ministry said.
Kumar will take the reins of the internal intelligence agency from Rajiv Jain on completion of his tenure on Sunday, while Goel will take charge from Anil K Dhasmana who demits office on Saturday.
Both Jain and Dhasmana, who were appointed for a two-year fixed tenure in 2016, were given six-month extensions in December last year in view of the general elections.
Kumar, 59, is at present the special director in the IB and has been working with the organisation since August 1991 which includes a tenure at the Indian Embassy in Moscow, Russia.
Kumar is highly regarded as an anchor by the IB's senior management cadre.
As for expertise, 'AK' was recognised for his role as a sheet-anchor when he was based in the Delhi unit in early 2000s. His network of sources revealed his excellence as a field officer.
Apart from designated charters such as Kashmir and Left Wing Extremism, he has spent much time in planning operations and strategic moves in certain insurgency areas in the North East.
His ability to closely examine all facets of the need for and the impact of Balakot, as well as investigation into the Pulwama attack, were the bedrock of the IB's contribution to the entire operation.
Kumar is a recipient of the President Police Medal for Distinguished Service.
At RAW, Goel will succeed Dhasmana at the India's external spy agency.
Goel is at present a special secretary in RAW and possess rich experience in intelligence and operations.
He looked after the security of the Punjab chief minister in 2000 and 2001, besides holding other important posts both in his state cadre and at the Centre.
Goel is considered an expert on issues related to the Punjab militancy and Pakistan, and has played an important role in checking militancy in the state during the 1990s.
He is a recipient of the Police Medal for Gallantry and Police Medal for Meritorious Service, and had joined RAW in March 2001.
Goel's name had come in a CBI investigation into allegations and counter-allegations of corruption against each other by two of its former senior officers -- the then CBI director Alok Kumar Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana.
The CBI had booked Asthana on allegations of receiving bribe from Manoj Prasad, who was being probed by him in a case linked to meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, former DIG of the CBI, M K Sinha, had said during interrogation of Prasad, who was arrested in the bribery case allegedly involving Asthana, the names of National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval and Goel had cropped up.
"As per Manoj Prasad, Dineshwar Prasad, his father, retired as joint secretary, and has close acquaintance with Doval.
"This was one of the first things Prasad claimed on being brought to CBI HQ and expressed complete surprise and anger as to how CBI could pick him up despite his close links with Doval," Sinha had said, adding that Prasad claimed.