The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a curative petition filed by non-governmental organisation Common Cause challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the special director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, PTI reported. On December 6, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had listed the matter for hearing on December 11.
“We have gone through the curative petition and connected papers,” the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said. “In our opinion no case is made out within the parameters indicated in the decision of this court [in the case laying down guidelines to deal with the curative petition].”
In October 2017, the Centre had appointed Asthana CBI special director. NGO Common Cause had filed a plea against this appointment, alleging that it violated the principles of “impeccable integrity” and “institutional integrity”. It highlighted 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.
The NGO had also said that CBI Director Alok Verma objected to Asthana’s appointment because his name figured in a corruption case the agency was investigating. Asthana’s name had surfaced in a diary obtained by the CBI from the premises of Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech, which suggested that he had accepted bribes from the company. 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.
However, in November 2017, a top court bench of Justices RK Agrawal and MS Sapre rejected the plea, and later also rejected a review petition filed against it.
The Narendra Modi-led government in October 2018 sent Verma and Asthana on leave following allegations of corruption and bribery. Asthana is accused of accepting a Rs 2-crore bribe to scuttle an investigation against businessman Moin Qureshi, who is an accused in multiple corruption cases. Asthana had moved the High Court to quash the first information report registered against him in the bribery case.