SC to hear plea against Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as interim CBI chief, Kharge raises objection in letter to Modi

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a plea challenging the appointment of Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as the interim director of CBI.
Supreme Court, Rakesh Asthana, CBI chief, Kharge Source: FILE PIC
India TV News Desk New Delhi December 07, 2016 20:20 IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a plea challenging the appointment of Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as the interim director of CBI. 

The plea will be heard on December 9.  

"Okay. It will come up on Friday," a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao said after advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, mentioned the plea. 

The petition, filed by the NGO, alleged that the Centre took a series of steps in a "completely mala fide, arbitrary and illegal manner to ensure that Asthana was given the charge of CBI director". 

It has 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. 

This is first time in ten years and only the second time in history that the CBI does not have a regular chief.

Meanwhile, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.. 

Kharge has alleged that a meeting of the selection committee was deliberately not called, so as to “facilitate giving the charge to a junior officer” media reports said. 

The government has said it will respond to Kharge’s letter by this evening, explaining the decision and why the selection committee did not meet.

Asthana, an IPS officer of 1984-batch, was elevated as the Additional Director in the agency on December 2 when CBI Special Director R K 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 and transferred Dutta to MHA on November 30 -- just two days before Sinha was slated to demit office. 

Asthana headed the SIT that looked into the Godhra train burning of 2002. He would not even have made it to the list of possible appointees for the selection committee, given his junior position.

 
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