The union government on Sunday appointed senior IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre Rakesh Asthana as the special director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) promoted the 1984-cadre officer who is currently posted as additional director.   

Asthana, along with seven other IPS officers of the same batch were promoted on Sunday. He will now be the second senior-most CBI official after the agency’s director Alok Verma.

His appointment has however not gone down well with senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan who says he will challenge it in court.

Who is Rakesh Asthana?

Asthana, a 1984-cadre IPS officer is serving as the additional director of the Central Bureau of Investigation. He was a part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that looked into the 2002 Godhra train burning case. He also investigated into the fodder scam between 1994 to 2001 in which former Bihar chief minister was involved. Currently, he is investigating Yadav and his family’s alleged involvement in a 2006 Indian Railways hotel scam, reports News18.

He is also probing AgustaWestland scam and also a few corruption cases in Delhi government.

Why is Prashant Bhushan unhappy with it?

After the news was announced, the senior Supreme Court lawyer took to Twitter to question Modi government’s move of promoting the ‘tainted’ CBI officer.  He told ANI that Rakesh Asthana’s name figures in diary of Sterling Biotech, on which CBI itself has registered an FIR.

What is the case against Asthana?

On August 30, an FIR was registered by CBI against three senior Income Tax officials for allegedly accepting bribes from Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech and Sandesara Group of Companies. A ‘Diary 2011’ which was recovered in the company premises had the details of monthly payout to the accused officials, including income tax officials, policemen and politicians in Gujarat. Bhushan has alleged that Asthana’s name figures in the list.

“Rakesh Asthana’s name figures in the diary of Sterling Biotech, on which the CBI itself has registered an FIR. In my view, this is totally illegal and we will certainly challenge it,” Bhushan told ANI.

What is the other objection?

Not just Bhushan, even the Central Vigilance Commission’s (CVC) Selection Committee on Saturday rejected the proposal for the promotion of the CBI’s Additional Director Rakesh Asthana for the post of Special Director. CVC chief KV Chowdary said that there are ‘issues regarding integrity clause’ because his name figures in the ‘Dairy 2011’, reports India Today.