The Centre on Wednesday shunted out a senior CBI officer whose name had prominently figured in the tussle between deposed director Alok Verma and his then deputy, former special director Rakesh Asthana.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) on Wednesday repatriated DIG Anish Prasad to his parent cadre of Tripura more than a year before his tenure at the Centre ends.
An order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) stated that the ACC had approved “premature repatriation of Shri Anish Prasad…to his parent cadre consequent on curtailment of his tenure in CBI”.
Along with Prasad, the government also curtailed the tenure of DIG Abhay Singh and promoted two officers.
At the peak of the tussle between Verma and Asthana, Prasad was DIG of SU-1 (special) unit. The SU unit is the CBI’s intelligence wing and is associated with conducting electronic surveillance and snooping.
In his October 2018 letter to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on the investigation into his daughter’s wedding, Asthana had alleged that the CBI was intruding into his personal space and snooping on conversations of his family members. Later, petitions filed in Supreme Court by several CBI officers gave details of snooped conversations, and suggestions were made that phones of top government officials such as National Security Adviser Ajit Doval may have been put on surveillance.
Prasad was among 14 officers transferred on October 24 after the government divested Verma and Asthana of their responsibilities in a midnight swoop. Prasad was then transferred to the administration department as deputy director.
Prasad was known to be close to Verma, a Union Territory cadre officer himself. In July 2018, he was at the centre of a tussle between Asthana and Verma when the controversy broke out over Asthana representing Verma in his absence at a CVC meeting over appointments and transfers in the agency. Verma had written to CVC that Asthana could not represent him since he was being probed by the agency for alleged corruption.
The two officers had fought over Prasad, who had earlier been repatriated to his parent cadre. But Verma put his foot down, brought Prasad back to the agency, and got him an extension of tenure until May 5, 2020.
Curtailing the tenure of DIG Abhay Singh, the government put him at the disposal of the Home Ministry, which will now decide on another central deputation for him. Singh, a 2002-batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IPS, was posted in Ranchi.
CBI joint director Praveen Sinha, who was looking after the probe in coal scam cases, has been elevated as additional director, the DoPT order stated. A 1988 batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, Sinha is now the second additional director in the agency after M Nageswara Rao.
Amit Kumar, who was working as deputy inspector general in CBI and held charge of the important policy division, has been elevated as joint director in the agency. Kumar is a 1998 batch IPS of Chhattisgarh cadre.
In January, the government had curtailed the tenure of four CBI officers: Asthana, joint director Arun Kumar Sharma, DIG Manish Kumar Sinha and Superintendent of Police Jayant J Naiknavare.