Special Director Rakesh Asthana & Three Senior Officers Moved Out Of CBI By The Govt
On January 17, the Centre moved CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, along with three other senior officers. This development comes on the heels of transfer of CBI Chief Alok Verma by a Prime Minister-led panel.
Asthana has now been transferred to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, which looks after the airport and flight security, reported India Today.
Asthana’s tenure curtailed
Rakesh Asthana’s tenure has been cut short along with three other senior officers – Joint Director Arun Kumar Sharma, Deputy Inspector General Manish Kumar Sinha and Superintendent of Police Jayant J Naiknavare, the order from the Personnel Ministry said. Usually, the tenure of a special director, at which Asthana was serving, is of seven years, as reported by NDTV.
Asthana’s appointment to the post itself was marred with controversy. Nominated by the Modi government, Asthana was accused of accepting a bribe. India’s top investigation agency, Central Bureau of Investigation has booked him for accepting bribery. In the FIR registered on October 15, it was alleged that CBI number two – Rakesh Asthana accepted about Rs 2 crore worth of bribe from a certain Dubai-based businessman.
Not just this, Asthana was also embroiled in an infamous fued with former CBI chief, which regularly made headlines. After CBI conducted a raid at its own office last year, the PMO had summoned both the top officials and in a dramatic midnight meeting, both were sent on compulsory leave on October 24.
Asthana had filed a plea requesting quashing the FIR against him on the bribery allegation. However, on January 11, the Delhi High Court dismissed his plea.
PM-led panel’s decision to transfer Verma
On January 8, the exiled CBI Chief Alok Verma was reinstated to the post by the Supreme Court. Notably, reinstating Verma to the post came with its own set of conditions. The SC had directed the government to form a committee, consisting of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice or his nominee and the leader of the Opposition to see if any action is required to be taken against Verma. Until then, CBI Chief was not permitted to take any major policy decision.
On January 10, just within 48 hours of the reinstation of Alok Verma to the post of CBI Chief, he was removed by the PM-led panel with a 2:1 majority. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi dropped out of the panel and nominated Justice Sikri for the panel. The PM and Justice Sikri voted in favour of removal of Verma, while the leader of the opposition Mallikarjun Kharge put a dissent note claiming that there is “conspiracy at the highest levels of the Government with statutory authorities being found complicit”. Verma was then posted as the Director-General Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards, under the Union Ministry. He later declined to take over the new posted handed over to him saying, “The selection committee has not provided the undersigned an opportunity to explain the details as recorded by the CVC before arriving at the decision”, as reported by Firstpost.
A panel led by PM Modi will again meet on January 24 to pick Verma’s successor.