New Delhi: Special Director Rakesh Asthana, embroiled in an unprecedented feud with CBI Chief Alok Verma, moved the Supreme Court on Friday challenging the Centre’s decision to divest him of duties and sending him on leave and claimed that he was a “whistle-blower".
In his petition, Asthana has also sought the removal of the CBI director from his post.
When a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph was hearing Verma’s petition, the counsel appearing for Asthana drew the attention to the plea filed by him. However, the bench said that it cannot grant any hearing on the oral submission as Asthana’s petition was not before it.
“We cannot hear something which is not before us," the bench said. Senior advocate and former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Asthana, submitted that the petition has been filed before the Registry and sought that it be listed on October 29.
“We will see," the bench said.
Rohatgi further said that Asthana has also been made a party in the PIL, filed by NGO ‘Common Cause’, seeking the court-monitored SIT probe into allegations of corruption against top offcials of the probe agency.
Asthana, a 1986-batch Gujarat-cadre IPS officer who had probed the sensational fodder scam cases involving former Bihar chief minisiters Lalu Prasad and Jagnnath Mihsra, has sought setting aside of the October 23 decision of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to divest him of his power and sending him on leave.
The petition, filed through lawyer Amit Anand Tiwari, referred to the sequence of events and said it was Asthana who has acted as whistle-blower by approaching the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on August 24, 2019 with the corruption complaint against the CBI Director.
While the CBI Director was given opportunities to respond to the complaint before the CVC, Asthana was divested of his office without being granted any opportunity to respond.
The Special Director’s plea accused the Centre of siding with the corrupt CBI chief and alleged that he has been victimised for his bonafide actions.
The action against him cannot be taken on the ground of parity, it added. Asthana had on August 24 had lodged a complaint to the Cabinet Secretary alleging misconduct by CBI Director and the matter was referred to the CVC for further action.
The CBI Director, in turn, told the CVC that Asthana was facing probe in six cases of corruption.
The probe agency then, on October 15, lodged the FIR with bribery allegations against Asthana, Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, Dubai-based investment banker Manoj Prasad and his brother Somesh Prasad. Kumar is in the CBI custody.