Home Editor's picks After trying to protect Vijay Mallya, Prashant Bhushan to move SC challenging Nageshwar Rao's appointment

After trying to protect Vijay Mallya, Prashant Bhushan to move SC challenging Nageshwar Rao’s appointment

Bhushan had petitioned against appointment of Rakesh Asthana and removal of Alok Verma, both rejected by the Supreme Court

Just a day after Alok Verma was removed from the post of CBI Director and Additional Director M Nageshwar Rao was appointed as the interim director, serial petitioner Prashant Bhushan has decided to move the Supreme Court against the appointment of Rao.

In October last year, the government had sent Alok Verma on a forced leave following serious allegations were levelled against him by Special Director Rakesh Asthana. On 8th January, the Supreme Court had reinstated him, saying government can’t remove the CBI director from the post, only the selection committee that selects the director can do. Accordingly, the selection committee, headed by prime minister Modi and comprising Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice A K Sikri of the supreme court, had decided to transfer Verma from his post and post him as Director General of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards till retires as January 31, 2019.

Nageshwar Rao was also made the interim director of CBI when Verma was sent on leave, and he will lead the investigation agency till the selection committee selects the new Director of CBI. This means he will be on the post for less than three weeks, but still, Prashant Bhushan has a problem with that and he is going to challenge it in the Supreme Court.

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It can be noted that earlier Prashant Bhushan had filed petitions in Supreme Court against the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as CBI special director. When his original petition was rejected by the top court, he had filed a review petition. After that petition was also rejected, he had against filed a curative petition, with no luck this time also as the Supreme Court rejected in December last year.

Rakesh Asthana was leading the CBI’s efforts in getting Vijaya Mallya extradited to India from the UK. The petitions filed and allegations made by Bhushan against Asthana were used by the lawyers of Vijay Mallya in the UK court hearing his extradition case. Using Bhushan’s arguments in India, Mallya’s defence was trying to prove that Asthana was a corrupt officer and he was motivated. And in a bizarre circular logic, Bhushan used those arguments made in the UK court to petition in the Supreme Court that Asthana’s presence is hampering the case against Mallya. Asthana was instrumental in getting Christian Michel extradited to India from Dubai.

Bhushan also petitioned against the removal of Alok Verma, but the selection committee’s decision has proved that allegations against Verma are serious in nature. The committee included a Supreme Court judge, and they used the CVC report against Verma in taking the decision. Now same Bhushan is petitioning against the appointment of an interim director. This raised a serious question, what is Prashant Bhushan’s interest in getting his favourite officers appointed as CBI director.

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