After sacking Verma, govt curtails Asthana's tenure

Last Updated 17 January 2019, 19:01 IST

A week after sacking CBI Director Alok Verma, Government on Thursday curtailed the tenure of controversial senior IPS official Rakesh Asthana in the faction-ridden CBI along with three others.

Besides Asthana, the 1984-batch Gujarat cadre officer who will now head the Bureau of Civil Aviation and Security, the tenures of two officers -- Joint Director A K Sharma and Deputy Inspector General M K Sinha -- who were in the midst of a factional feud within the agency were also curtailed "with immediate effect".

CBI Additional Director Sharma, a Gujarat-cadre officer of 1987 batch, has been made Additional Director General of CRPF while Deputy Inspector General Sinha, 200-batch officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, has been transferred to police think-tank Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), sources said.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the proposal of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which controls the CBI. The fourth officer Jayant Naiknavare, a 2004-batch officer who was Superintendent of Police in CBI, has been repatriated to Maharashtra cadre upon promotion and has no links with the factional feud.

The latest action comes at a time the government has scheduled a meeting of the Selection Committee chaired by Prime Minister Modi to choose a full-time Director for the premier investigating agency, which is now headed by interim Director M Nageshwar Rao.

The government had on January 10 shunted Verma out of CBI, two days after the Supreme Court reinstated him, on the basis of the majority recommendation of the Selection Committee. Verma was transferred as Director General of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards but he refused to take over, saying he had already superannuated from the police service.

Asthana, who is considered close to Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, was locked in a bitter factional feud with sacked Director Verma. The feud reached its zenith when Verma directed filing of an FIR against Ashtana on corruption charges, two months after the latter approached the Cabinet Secretary with graft charges against him.

Verma and Asthana, whom the government initially wanted as Director when Anil Sinha retired in 2016, were then sent on leave by the government on October 23. While Asthana challenged the FIR in Delhi High Court, he did not get any relief with the judge saying that he should face the probe and that there was no malafide on the part of Verma to file the FIR.

Sinha and Sharma had also positioned themselves against Asthana and were considered close to Verma.

Sinha had filed a petition in Supreme Court claiming that Minister of State Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary took a bribe of a “few crores of rupees” to settle a case and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval intervened in the probe against Asthana. Chief Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdhary and Law Secretary Suresh Chandra also faced not so flattering references in his petition.

(Published 17 January 2019, 14:35 IST)

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