The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea challenging the appointment of Indian Police Service officer Rakesh Asthana as the special director of the Central Bureau of Investigation. The court has scheduled the next hearing for November 13.
On November 2, NGO Common Cause had filed the petition calling Asthana’s appointment “illegal”. The petition had alleged that Asthana’s appointment violated the principles of “impeccable integrity” and “institutional integrity”. It said that as per the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, the Centre must appoint the CBI special director on the recommendation of a committee comprising the Central Vigilance Commissioner, vigilance commissioners, the home secretary and the personnel secretary, in consultation with the CBI director.
Asthana’s name had surfaced in a diary obtained by the CBI from the premises of Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech in August. This suggested that Asthana had accepted bribes from the company, the petitioners alleged. Despite this, the plea contends, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, approved Asthana’s appointment.
The matter was heard on Thursday before a bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer. Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, had sought an urgent listing of the plea, PTI reported.