Exclusive: Modi Govt Still Had Rakesh Asthana in The Reckoning for CBI Chief
There are serious allegations of bribery against the Gujarat cadre IPS officer considered close to PM Modi.
The Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was considering appointing controversial Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director.
As per documents accessed by NewsCentral24x7, Asthana, currently appointed as DG Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, was also in the list of empanelled officers for the post. He was given a grading of 94.94, while Rishi Kumar Shukla — the new CBI chief — was given 99.84.
Previously, the 1984 batch IPS officer, considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was the Special Director in CBI. The investigative agency had registered an FIR against Asthana on October 15, 2018, alleging serious corruption charges against him on the basis of a complaint from a businessman Sathish Babu Sana. However, Asthana’s vigilance status was marked as clear in the list in spite of the bribery allegations against him, authoritative sources told News Central24x7.
Sana, whom Asthana was probing in a money laundering case linked to meat exporter Moin Qureshi, alleged to have paid a bribe of Rs 3 crore to Asthana through middlemen Manoj Prasad and his brother Somesh Prasad to get relief from questioning in the case.
Former CBI director Alok Verma was stripped off of his powers by the Central government on October 23, just a few hours after the agency closed in to clinch evidence on the role of Asthana in the bribery and money laundering case (allegedly extortion to fix cases). CBI Deputy SP Ajay Kumar Bassi, who was leading the investigation in the case against Asthana, was also transferred to Andaman and Nicobar Islands with immediate effect on October 24.
On January 11, the Delhi High Court dismissed Asthana’s plea for quashing the FIR filed against him in the bribery case.