Delhi’s Commissioner of Police Rakesh Asthana, in a reply to a PIL challenging his appointment to the post, has alleged that a sustained social media campaign and a “barrage of selective actions” were being undertaken to “derail” his career, while particularly making mention of tweets made by advocate Prashant Bhushan since 2017 with regard to him.
Choosing not to respond to the PIL on merits and stating that the same can only be dealt with by the central government, Asthana told the court he has filed the reply only to bring to its notice that the petitioners against him were entertaining a personal vengeance and the cases have been filed either “for some hidden personal vendetta of either of them or of someone on whose behest several attempts are being made against me to derail my career”.
He has named Common Cause and Centre for Public Interest Litigations and said one or two individuals run both the organisations and enjoy deep and pervasive control over them. Bhushan has previously been on the governing body of the two NGOs, and represents CPIL, an intervenor in the PIL challenging Asthana’s appointment, before the High Court.
Without naming Bhushan, Asthana has said that “individuals running them in recent past for some oblique and ostensible undisclosed reason have started barrage of selective actions against me either out of some vendetta about which I am not aware or at the behest of some individual/interest”.
Asthana, in a tabulated form, has mentioned four cases, all filed by Common Cause, against his appointment as Special Director CBI in 2017 and seeking SIT probe against the corruption charges against him. “The aforesaid PILs were thereafter followed by a malicious campaign propagated either through tweets or articles or shadow PILs,” he has said.
The sustained social media campaign corroborates and justifies the apprehension that the challenge to “my appointment is the result of either some vendetta which is unknown to me or is being conducted at the behest of some undisclosed individual/rival/interest,” Asthana has said while attaching tweets made by Bhushan between October 2017 and July 2021 regarding him.
The Centre had Thursday defended Asthana’s appointment, saying that he has been brought in to provide “effective policing” on recent law and order situations in the national capital.
Sadre Alam, a lawyer, has filed a PIL seeking quashing of Asthana’s appointment, inter-cadre deputation, and extension of service. The court had earlier also allowed an intervention application by CPIL in the case. CPIL has accused Alam of copying contents of its petition pending before the apex court against Asthana’s appointment.
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