Modi govt hell bent on destroying independence of CBI: Prashant Bhushan on Rakesh Asthana’s appointment

New Delhi: Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan on Monday said that the Narendra Modi government is hell bent on destroying the independence and integrity of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Reacting to the elevation of Rakesh Asthana as Special Director CBI, Bhushan said that the appointment is totally illegal.

“Rakesh Asthana’s name figures in diary of Sterling Biotech, on which CBI itself has registered an FIR,” Bhushan said adding that he will challenge his appointment. 

In a major bureaucratic reshuffle on Sunday, Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Rakesh Asthana was appointed as the special director of the CBI. 

Asthana is presently Additional Director in the agency and is handling a number of important investigations, including AgustaWestland probe. A 1984 batch police service officer, Asthana headed the special investigation team which probed the burning of Sabarmati Express in Godhra in February 2002. He is also investigating Lalu Prasad Yadav and family in a hotel deal that was signed during the RJD chief’s tenure as railway minister in the UPA regime. 

Apart from Asthana, seven others 1984 batch IPS officers have also been promoted. IPS officers Deepak Kumar Mishra and Sudeep Lakhtakia have been posted as Special Director General (DG) in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), while Gurbachan Singh has been elevated as Special Director in Intelligence Bureau (IB).

Rajesh Ranjan and AP Maheshwari have been promoted as Special DG in the Border Security Force (BSF). A 1984-batch IPS officer, Javeed Ahmed, who served as the Director General of Police (DGP) of Uttar Pradesh has been given the rank of Special DG at the Centre.

The promotion of officers was announced by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Personnel and Training.