Double whammy for Congress in court: After Rafale verdict, Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as special director gets SC approval

Earlier, the UK court hearing the extradition case of VIjay Mallya had ruled that there is proof of allegations against Rakesh Asthana

The Supreme Court has dismissed a curative petition challenging the appointment of IPS officer Rakesh Asthana to the post of CBI special director. The apex court decision came while hearing the curative petition filed by Prashant Bhushan representing NGO Common Cause. Bhushan had filed the plea to reconsider the Supreme Court’s November judgment upholding the appointment of IPS officer to the CBI, and it was the third petition filed by him in the case.

The Supreme Court on January 23  had rejected a review petition filed by the NGO against the SC judgement upholding the appointment of Asthana to the post of CBI special director, saying there was no error on record to merit a review of the order. That review petition was filed by the NGO after SC had dismissed its original petition seeking cancellation of appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Special Direction or CBI in November last year, saying it cannot question a “unanimous” decision taken by the selection committee and the decision is not illegal.

After the rejection of both the original PIL and the review petition by the apex court, the NGO had again filed a curative petition on the same matter. Rejecting that petition, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, “We have gone through the curative petition and connected papers. In our opinion, no case is made out within the parameters indicated in the decision of this court.”

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It may be noted that while Prashant Bhushan and his NGO Common Cause is trying to remove Rakesh Asthana making allegations of corruptions against him, in London Vijay Mallya was using those allegations in the court hearing the Indian government’s plea to extradite Mallya to India. Mallya’s lawyers had argued that Asthana, who was leading the CBI’s case against Mallya, is corrupt and politically motivated. The UK court had rejected all these allegations and had ruled that there is no evidence on allegations made against Asthana.

The Supreme Court’s verdict is being seen as the second major setback for both the Congress party and Prashant Bhushan, as the Supreme Court had earlier rejected a plea to order a probe on the Rafale deal. Congress President Rahul Gandhi had used the ongoing CBI internal rift to score a political point and had accused the CBI special director Rakesh Asthana of “infiltrating” CBI. He had referred to Asthana as the blue-eyed boy of Prime Minister Modi.

With Supreme Court deciding to reject the petition challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana, it has resulted in a huge embarrassment for the Rahul Gandhi. Earlier, the Congress party had suffered a huge blow after the Supreme Court did not entertain a petition seeking a court-monitored investigation into the Rafale deal. The Court said that it has not found any material to show that there has been any commercial favouritism and perception of individuals can’t be the basis for an inquiry in the sensitive issue of defence procurement.


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