People Accused Of Crimes By CBI Being Appointed As CBI Officers; Complains CBI To Vigilance Commission
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has written to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The letter states that the CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who is also the second senior most officer cannot represent CBI chief Alok Verma in matters pertaining to induction of officers into CBI since “Asthana was himself under the scanner”.
Adding to this, CBI has alleged in its letter to CVC that examination by CBI has revealed that several officers being considered for induction are suspects/accused in cases which are registered with the agency. This has brought the contention between CBI chief Alok Verma and Asthana out in the open.
CBI’s letters to CVC
CBI expressed its concern via two letters sent in response to the telephone call from CVC on July 10, informing it about the meeting of CBI selection committee on July 12. The letter said that CBI had not received any formal agenda for the meeting. CBI has now asked for postponing the July 12 meeting to any date after July 19. It said, “(CBI) had already expressed its concern on May 18th, 2018 vide letter.. wherein it was requested that CBI be given sufficient time in advance to conduct due diligence checks on the officers/candidates being proposed for induction.”
CBI cited section 4C of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, as amended by the CVC Act, 2003, which states, “the committee shall consult the Director before submitting its recommendations to the Central Government”.
As the CBI director was scheduled to be in Uruguay on July 12, CVC then asked for the official next in seniority – referring to Asthana, to attend the meeting. In response to this, CBI wrote the second letter stating that “the charge/powers of Director, CBI have not be given” to Asthana.
Last year too, CBI director Verma had raised concerns over Asthana being appointed the special director of CBI. This had put a spotlight on the role of the CVC-chaired selection committee. The committee chose to ignore all the concerns raised against the appointment of Asthana.
The government has also decided that it will not meddle in this case. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh, told NDTV, “We are just an administrative head and deal with their administrative and policy issues.”
Controversy over Asthana’s appointment
In October 2017, lawyer and activist, Prashant Bhushan pointed out that the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Special Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is ‘illegal’ and claimed that it destroyed the independence of the investigating agency.
Bhushan filed a PIL in the Supreme Court and tweeted, “In my view, this is illegal, and we will certainly challenge it. This shows the present government is hell-bent on destroying independence and integrity of CBI.”
We challenged malafide appointment of Asthana as Spl Dir CBI. CJI transferred case from Justice Gogoi to Justice RK Agarwal who dismissed it. He also dismissed our petition seeking SIT in medical college scam involving CJI. He was rewarded with post retirement job as NCDRC Chair! https://t.co/6VGPHP6fjt
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) July 16, 2018
Bhushan has also added that the Asthana’s name is involved in the Sterling Biotech money laundering case that the CBI has itself registered an FIR against. The FIR was filed against three top Income Tax Commissioners for accepting bribes from the Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech and Sandesara Group of Companies.
The FIR mentioned a “Diary 2011” found during raids on a company that bore the name of Asthana.