Ousted CBI special director Rakesh Asthana among names being considered by selection committee, claims petitioner ML Sharma

On the day that a high-powered committee will meet to decide a name for the post of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director, petitioner ML Sharma claimed that ousted special director Rakesh Asthana's name is in the list of those who will be considered for the post.

Sharma also sought an early hearing of his petition, which challenged Asthana’s appointment which came even after the Delhi High Court did not quash a FIR against the latter over bribery allegations. The court had also given a deadline of 10 weeks to complete investigation into the case.

Ousted CBI special director Rakesh Asthana among names being considered by selection committee, claims petitioner ML Sharma

File photo of Rakesh Asthana. PTI

Advocate ML Sharma had filed a petition in the Supreme Court on 23 January calling the appointment of Asthana as Director General of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) on 18 January a contradiction to the law. The petition had demanded that since Asthana be suspended since he had a pending investigation against him.

The petition also sought that the PM not be a part of the Selection Committee, owing to conflict of interest. "Instead of suspension, Asthana's appointment as BCES Chief on 18 January is a clear case of personal interest of Narendra Modi in favour of Asthana and against Alok Verma. Therefore, Modi has no legal and moral right to sit as member of the committee in which Asthana versus Verma case has been decided," it said.

The committee for selection of the CBI Director comprises of the PM, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge. Among the top contenders for the CBI director's post are Parminder Rai, YC Modi and Rina Mitra.

On 23 October, 2018, then CBI director Verma and Asthana were divested of their powers and sent on forced leave after the two exchanged accusations of corruption. This came after the CBI registered a case against Asthana claiming criminal conspiracy, corruption and misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

On 8 January, Verma was reinstated as CBI director by the Supreme Court, only to be removed from the post two days later. Two days later, M Nageshwara Rao was appointed the interim CBI chief.

The apex court then revoked Verma’s suspension and set aside Rao’s appointment on 14 January. After this order, the selection committee again sacked Verma, reinstating Rao.

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Updated Date: Jan 30, 2019 12:35:58 IST

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