NGO against Asthana's appointment as CBI chief

NGO against Asthana's appointment as CBI chief
An NGO on Monday approached the Supreme Court against the Union government’s decision to appoint Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as acting director of the CBI.

‘Common Cause’, the NGO through advocate Prashant Bhushan contended that the government in “deliberate dereliction” did not convene meeting of the Collegium comprising the prime minister as chairperson and Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India as members to select full-fledged CBI director as mandated under the law. “The government 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,” the petitioner claimed.

Asserting that it was for the first time in a decade, the CBI did not have a full time director appointed as per the prescribed statutory procedure, the petitioner submitted that the government had on November 30 prematurely curtailed the tenure and transferred R K Dutta, special director, CBI, to the Ministry of Home Affairs, just two days before the incumbent Anil Sinha was to demit office.

The sequence of events showed that the government wanted to appoint its own choice as the CBI director in the interim, even if “it meant bypassing the statutory law, norms of propriety, and the directions contained in the apex court’s judgement in Vineet Narain’s case, it said. Asthana, given interim charge of the CBI on December 2, was part of an SIT set up by the Gujarat government to probe the Godhra train burning case.

The petitioner sought direction to the Union government to appoint a regular CBI director by following the procedure laid down in Section 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, as amended by the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.

It urged for a court-appointed person as interim director till a regular director was appointed. Recently, the apex court directed for appointment of a full-time director to the Enforcement Directorate on a PIL.

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