From 'Chara scam' to 'Lara scam', CBI officer remains the same

From 'Chara scam' to 'Lara scam', CBI officer remains the same

From 'Chara scam' to 'Lara scam', CBI officer remains the same
Is it a coincidence that the CBI officer, who interrogated Lalu Prasad during the fodder scam two decades ago, was at the forefront monitoring the raid on Friday at Lalu-Rabri residence here in the State Capital?

In 1996, when the fodder scam, commonly known as ‘chara ghotala’ was unearthed, it was the then CBI SP, Rakesh Asthana who interrogated the then Chief Minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad for six hours. It is believed that based on his investigation, the CBI later arrested Lalu in July 1997.

Incidentally, Rakesh Asthana, now additional director in the CBI, was leading the raid against Lalu and his family members in connection with irregularities in handing over two hotels (one each in Ranchi and Puri) when Lalu was Railway Minister in UPA-I. The disputed land in question is presently owned by LaRa projects (named after Lalu and Rabri and therefore called Lara scam)

Born in Ranchi in 1961, the 1984-batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer Asthana studied in the prestigious Netarhat School (now in Jharkhand) where his father HR Asthana was a Physics teacher. After completing his higher studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Asthana taught history at St Xavier’s College, Ranchi for a short span before clearing the UPSC examination in 1984 in his first attempt.

He shot into limelight while probing the Purulia arms drops case. But he became a household name here when he quizzed Lalu and filed chargesheet against him in the fodder scam which eventually led to RJD
chief’s arrest. He was then barely 35-year-old and posted as CBI SP.

Later, he also investigated the Godhra incident and Ahmedabad blast case. In December 2016, he was appointed as interim director of the CBI after Anil Kumar Sinha retired as CBI director. Presently working as number two in the premier investigating agency, Asthana on Friday said that the CBI had registered an FIR against Lalu and other family members under section 420 (cheating) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) in the land deal case and claimed it had prima facie sufficient evidence to nail Lalu.
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