Cong questions appointment of CBI interim chief; NGO moves PIL in SC

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: CBI interim director Rakesh Asthana (Right) at Parliament House in New Delhi on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: CBI interim director Rakesh Asthana (Right) at Parliament House in New Delhi on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.
Photo – PTI

The appointment of IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as the interim director of premier central investigation agency CBI has now been questioned by the principal opposition party. The issue also echoed in Supreme Court with Chief Justice TS Thakur-led bench agreeing to hear a PIL challenging Asthana’s appointment.

Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha, took up the matter writing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

1984-batch IPS officer from Gujarat cadre Rakesh Asthana was elevated as the Additional Director and appointed as the interim chief, following the retirement of CBI Director Anil Sinha on December 2.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Kharge said that the “the entire process has been vitiated and is being manipulated to pre-empt the decision to be arrived at in the meeting of the selection committee.”

Congress leader in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge.

As per procedures, the appointment of CBI Director is decided by a selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the Chief Justice of India. Kharge has also asked the Prime Minister if the appointment of Asthana is final or just an interim arrangement.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has also agreed to hear on December 9 a plea challenging Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as the interim director of CBI.

A bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao on Wednesday agreed to hold a hearing on the PIL filed by the NGO Common Cause, alleging that the Centre 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 PIL also claimed that the government did not convene a meeting of the selection committee even though it was fully aware that Anil Sinha was going to demit the office of CBI director on December 2.