On Tuesday (29th November) Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice A.M. Sapre dismissed the petition challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana, a senior IPS officer, as a special director of the Central Bureau for Investigation. On November 24th the Court had reserved its judgement in this matter.
The petition was filed by Advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of the NGO Common Cause, stating the illegality of his appointment due to the fact that a diary had surfaced in the case where a company Sterling Biotech was being probed for money laundering. The diary became the basis for CBI to file an FIR in August 2017 against the company’s promoters, and other unknown persons, although Rakesh Asthana was never named in the FIR. However, links between the company and Rakesh Asthana have emerged time and again.
The Central Government defended this appointment, citing his career where he’s supervised over 40 high-profile cases as indication of his abilities. The Centre has referred to his “unblemished record” and described him as an “outstanding” officer.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan submitted before the court that as per government rules, he had not declared his assets in 2016 and that that itself disqualified him from being considered for appointment to a higher post.