Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan has termed the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Special Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as illegal. According to him, the Modi government is trying to tarnish the independence of the investigating agency. Bhushan added that Asthana’s name appears in the diary of Sterling Biotech against whom CBI had filed an FIR. The CBI’s Delhi Unit had on August 30 registered FIR against three senior Income Tax Commissioners for accepting bribes from Sterling Biotech and Sandesara Group of Companies. According to sources, the diary contains information pertaining to monthly payout to several police officials, Income Tax Commissioners and politicians in Gujarat and Delhi. The diary also contained Asthana’s name.
Bhushan, who had filed a PIL in the Supreme Court against Asthana’s appointment, said, “In my view this is totally illegal and we will certainly challenge it. This shows present government is hell-bent on destroying the independence and integrity of CBI.
Too much government interference has affected the functioning of CBI. The Supreme Court had earlier observed that the investigating agency was acting like a caged parrot and had asked the government to pass legislation to provide functional autonomy to CBI.”
Mohansingh Rathwa, Opposition leader of Gujarat Congress said, “It has become a strategy of the Modi government to offer lucrative posts to corrupt officials. They want these officials to shield them. Modi often says that he won’t support corruption and will act against those who are found guilty but at the same time his government is inducting corrupt officials.”
Retd Brigadier Sudhir Sawant said, “If corruption charges are proved against Asthana then it is unfortunate. Appointing Asthana as Special Director of CBI is unjustified. The Central Vigilance Commission should intervene in this matter. If corruption charges are proved against Asthana then he should not be appointed. We can appeal against Asthana even if he gets a clean chit from CVC. Even though Rakesh Asthana might have gained confidence of Modi but he should adhere to rules and regulations.”
Rahul Shewale, Shiv Sena MP said, “Appointing Asthana as Director of CBI is unjustified as he is already involved in corruption activities and a debate has been held in this regard in the Parliament. BJP is talking about transparency at the time it is appointing a corrupt official like Asthana. We will question PM Modi about why he had appointed him. What can we expect from a corrupt official?”
Atul Bhatkhalkar, BJP MLA said, “A clearance report from CVC is required for appointment of CBI officials. Since Asthana has received a clean chit from CVC hence, he has been appointed for this post. “