The central government on Sunday named senior Indian Police Service officer Rakesh Asthana the special director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, reported PTI. Asthana is currently the additional director of the Central agency.
The 1984 Gujarat-cadre IPS officer is currently investigating Bihar leader Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family in a 2006 Indian Railways hotel scam, reported News18. He was also a part of the Special Investigation Team that inquired the Godhra train burning case. Asthana had also been part of the investigative team that looked into the fodder scam from 1994 to 2001.
Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Monday said he would challenge Asthana’s appointment as the CBI official is embroiled in the Sterling Biotech case.
On August 30, the CBI had registered an FIR against three senior Income Tax officials for allegedly accepting bribes from Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech and Sandesara Group of Companies. A “Diary 2011” was found in the company premises, which detailed a monthly payout to the accused officials, including income tax officials, policemen and politicians in Gujarat.
“Rakesh Asthana’s name figures in the diary of Sterling Biotech, on which the CBI itself has registered an FIR,” Bhushan told ANI. “In my view, this is totally illegal and we will certainly challenge it.” Bhushan added that the present government is “hell-bent” on destroying the independence and integrity of the CBI.
Apart from Asthana, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet also cleared the promotion of seven other IPS officers of the 1984 batch, reported PTI. While IPS officer Gurbachan Singh was promoted to the post of special director in the Intelligence Bureau, Sudeep Lakhtakia became the special director general in the Central Reserve Police Force. AP Maheshwari was named the special director general of the Border Security Force.