Just a week before the high-level selection committee is scheduled to meet to select the next director of Central Bureau of Investigation, today the union government removed Special Director CBI Rakesh Asthana and three other officers from the agency. According to a notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) today, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved the curtailment of tenure of the four IPS officers working in CBI in the rank of Special Director/Joint Director/DIG/SP with immediate effect. Apart from Asthana, other officials are Arun Kumar Sharma, Joint Director, Manish Kumar Sinha, DIG, and Jayant J. Naiknavare, SP/HoB.
With this, both the architects of the infamous CBI vs CBI are now out of CBI. Last week CBI director Alok Verma had resigned from the agency after the high-level committee had removed him from the post of CBI director and transferred as DG of Fire Services.
The IPS officers are not terminated from their jobs, only their tenure in CBI has been curtailed. Rakesh Asthana has been transferred to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, which looks after airport and flight security. The other three also may be posted in other positions in the central government, or may be returned to their parent cadres. Both Asthana and Sharma are from Gujarat cadre, while Sinha is from Andhra Pradesh cadre and Naiknavare is from Maharashtra cadre.
Rakesh Asthana is facing a probe by CBI following an FIR was lodged against him by the agency at the behest of Alok Verma. Last week, the Delhi High Court had rejected his petition to quash the FIR, and had ordered the CBI to complete the probe within 10 weeks. According to reports, the CVC had concluded in its report that Alok Verma had forged evidence against Asthana.
The selection committee comprising prime minister Narendra Modi, chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and the leader of largest opposition party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge will meet on January 24 to decide on the appointment of next CBI director. Till then, Additional Director Nageshwar Rao is working as the interim director of the agency, who was re-assigned to the role after Alok Verma was removed from the post of CBI director on January 10th.