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Prashant Bhushan: Asthana's appointment destroying CBI's independence

News Agencies | Updated on: 23 October 2017, 11:18 IST

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan on 23 October dubbed the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Special Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) 'illegal'.

Talking to ANI, Bhushan said the ruling government is hell-bent on destroying the independence of the probe agency.

Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Rakesh Asthana was on Sunday appointed as the Special Director of the CBI.

Bhushan, who had filed a PIL in the Supreme Court against Asthana's appointment, said, "In my view this is totally illegal and we will certainly challenge it. This Shows present government is hell-bent on destroying independence and integrity of CBI."

He further said that Asthana's name figures in diary of Sterling Biotech, against which CBI itself has registered an FIR.

Earlier in August, the CBI's Delhi Unit had registered a FIR against three senior Income Tax Commissioners for accepting bribes from the Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech and Sandesara Group of Companies. The FIR says there existed a "Diary 2011" which was found during raids on a company. According to reports, the diary also contained Asthana's name.

Asthana is at present an Additional Director in the agency and is handling a number of important investigations, including AgustaWestland probe.

Bhushan on behalf of NGO Common Cause, has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the apex court seeking to quash Asthana's appointment in accordance with the Vineet Narain case.

The Common Cause in their petition said that the government did not follow rules and regulations while appointment of the CBI Director.

The petitioner alleged that the government wanted to appoint its own choice as interim CBI Director "even if it meant bypassing the statutory law, the norms of propriety, and the directions contained in the Vineet Narain's judgement".

"The judgment in Vineet Narain's case had clearly held that the tenure of CBI Director would be two years. This was to ensure that there is no ad-hocism in the appointment and functioning of the CBI Director," the petition states.

"Therefore, the petitioner submits that the government must be directed to comply with the mandate of the law and call for the meeting of the selection committee as per the DSPE Act, 1946 as amended by Lokpal Act, 2013," the petition added.


First published: 23 October 2017, 11:18 IST