Former special director, Rakesh Asthana was divested of his duties in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday (17 January), only a week after his former boss was shown the door, reports Times Of India (TOI).
Asthana has now been appointed as director general of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. Two other officers, Joint director A K Sharma and DIG Manish Sinha, were also transferred out of the CBI with “immediate effect”.
This development effectively brings to an end the crisis that had engulfed India’s premier investigation agency in the past few months.
It all started with what was viewed by many as a power struggle between CBI’s top officers, former Director Alok Verma and former Special Director Rakesh Asthana spilled over into the public domain. Following this, the CBI filed a case against Asthana alleging that he took a bribe of Rs 3 crore to settle a case against a Hyderabad-based businessman, Sathish Sana, whose name had come up during an investigation in the Moin Qureshi case.
Asthana had then accused CBI director Verma of instructing him not to examine Sana when he was summoned for questioning. In a letter to the cabinet secretariat, he cited ten instances of interference from Verma in the case. A case was filed against the director too.
At the height of tensions, the Union government moved in and sent both the officers on leave and appointed M Nageshwar Rao, who was previously an Additional Director of the CBI, as an interim Director. However, Verma moved the Supreme Court challenging his removal. Though the SC reinstated him as the Director later, he was fired from the post the following day by a PM-led panel consisting of the Chief Justice of India and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
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