Rakesh Asthana, who was once seen to be in line for the CBI director’s post, was moved out of the investigating agency on Wednesday evening, capping a bitter tug of war between Asthana and his ex-boss who was sacked this month, Alok Verma.
Joint Director Arun Kumar Sharma and Deputy Inspector General Manish Kumar Sinha, who were seen to be close to Alok Verma and had investigated Asthana were also removed. A Superintendent of Police-rank officer Jayant J Naiknavare has also been sent out of the agency.
“The aim is to remove all warring factions from the CBI and give the new director a clean slate to work with,” a senior official told ET. Both Asthana and AK Sharma, the joint director (policy), are from the Gujarat cadre and were on collision course.
The development comes days after #AlokVerma was shunted out of the post of CBI director and appointed Director General of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards.#rakeshasthanahttps://t.co/u1NtEzbOp7
— The New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) January 17, 2019
Asthana had complained to the CVC about Sharma as well, besides Verma, while Sharma went to Delhi HC against Asthana. Sharma has been made additional director general of CRPF.
“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal of DoPT/AV Division for curtailment of tenure of following IPS officers working in CBI with immediate effect,” the order issued by the government said, naming the three officers. The new orders on their appointments are expected to be issued soon by the home ministry.
Asthana’s exit comes days before the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led selection panel is to decide on the agency’s next full-time boss. M Nageswara Rao has been heading the investigating agency as an interim measure, triggering howls of protest from the Congress which alleged the government did not want a CBI chief who could act independently.