A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the government’s decision to appoint Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as acting director of the CBI.
NGO ‘Common Cause’ contended that the government in “deliberate dereliction” did not convene a meeting of the collegium comprising the Prime Minister as chairperson and Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India as members to select a full-fledged CBI director as mandated under the law.
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“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 petition, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, stated.
It stated 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.
Asthana, an officer of the 1984 batch, was elevated as Additional Director in the agency on December 2 when CBI Special Director R K Dutta, who was reportedly among the frontrunners for the top post, was shifted to the Ministry of Home Affairs as a Special Secretary.
The PIL claimed that the government had “prematurely curtailed” the tenure of and transferred Dutta to the MHA on November 30 — just two days before Sinha was slated to demit office.