'Don't appoint Asthana as CBI special director'

'Don't appoint Asthana as CBI special director'

The NGO Common Cause has approached the Supreme Court challenging the appointment of Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as special director of the CBI.

It claimed his appointment was made despite opposition by the CBI chief over his "integrity".

A PIL, filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan, relied on news reports which claimed that Asthana's name has figured in a diary recovered in 2011 which allegedly pointed out that he had accepted bribes.

The diary belonged to a person related to senior Congress leader Ahmad Patel. The CBI has registered an FIR in this regard, the plea contended.

The appointment Asthana is in violation of the principles of "impeccable integrity" and "institutional integrity", it said.

"Given that the CBI is investigating the role of Respondent No.2 (Asthana) in the said 'Diary 2011', his appointment to such a high post as the special director of the CBI itself is bound to create situations where officers junior to Respondent No. 2 would not be able to conduct a free, fair and fearless probe into his role," the petition said.

The NGO said in December 2016, the government cleared the way for giving him the interim charge of CBI director and transferred his senior R K Dutta out of the CBI.

The government had then omitted to 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 then CBI director Anil Sinha was going to demit office on December 2, the petition said.

The petitioner also sought the transfer of Asthana out of CBI till the investigation against him is over, which was initiated after an FIR was filed on August 30, concerning alleged payouts to various public servants by Sterling Biotech Group and Sandesara Group.

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