SC issues notice to government over appointment of Rakesh Asthana as CBI Director, seeks detailed explanation by Dec 15The Supreme Court today issued a notice to the central government over the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the interim Director of the CBI.
The Supreme Court today issued a notice to the central government over the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the interim Director of the CBI.
The court has asked the government for a detailed explanation on the latest development before December 15.
The apex court’s observation came while taking up a plea filed by lawyer Prashant Bhushan on behalf of Common Cause, an NGO, which sought the quashing of Asthana’s appointment.
The petitioner argued that the Centre took a series of steps in a ‘completely mala fide, arbitrary and illegal manner to ensure that he was given the charge of the agency’.
It claimed that the government did not convene a meeting of the selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the Chief Justice of India, even though it was fully aware that Anil Sinha was going to demit the office of CBI Director on December 2.
Asthana, a Gujarat-cadre officer of 1984-batch, was elevated as the Additional Director in the agency on December 2 when CBI Special Director RK Dutta, who was reportedly among the frontrunners for the top post, was shifted to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as a Special Secretary.
The PIL claimed that the government had ‘prematurely curtailed’ the tenure of and transferred Dutta, to the MHA on 30 November, just two days before Sinha was slated to demit office.
The Congress party too had shot off a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on the matter. The letter, written by Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, said had raised strong concerns over the appointment of Asthana as interim director of CBI, alleging that the process of selection of the new director of the investigation agency had been vitiated.
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has now asked Kharge to spell out his convenience after December 16 so that a meeting could be convened of the Selection Committee to choose the new CBI Director.
MoS in the PMO Jitendra Singh, who is also in-charge of Department of Personnel, wrote to Kharge in response to his letter sent, PTI sources said.
Singh asked Kharge to indicate his convenience after December 16 so that the meeting of the Committee could be scheduled.
In his letter, Kharge had asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately convene a meeting of the Selection Committee to select the new CBI Director.
Kharge is a member of the Committee which comprises the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition or leader of the largest party in opposition in Lok Sabha.