2 min read.Updated: 02 Aug 2021, 02:55 PM ISTLivemint
Contempt plea against PM Modi, Shah: Rakesh Asthana was appointed as the Delhi Police Commissioner on 27 July, just days before his retirement
The Supreme Court will hear on August 5 a contempt petition filed by a lawyer against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Ministry of Home Affairs challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner.
On 27 July, just days before his retirement, Asthana was appointed as the Delhi Police Commissioner. Asthana, a 1984 batch IPS officer from Gujarat cadre, was made Director-General of BSF last year in August.
In an order issued, the Ministry of Home Affairs had said that Asthana would join as the Delhi Police commissioner with immediate effect. His appointment came just days before his superannuation on July 31. Asthana has been given a tenure of one year.
Rakesh Asthana's appointment as Delhi CP did not go down well with many including opposition parties as he comes from the Gujarat cadre. Generally, the post of Delhi police chief goes to those from Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre.
Asthana replaced senior IPS officer Balaji Srivastav, who was given the additional charge of Commissioner of Police Delhi after the retirement of S N Shrivastava.
Asthana has also served as the special director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). However, he was transferred from there after an ugly spat with then CBI Director Alok Verma.
The Congress opposed Asthana's appointment saying that it was in "direct contravention" of a Supreme Court judgment and asked whether any "quid pro quo" was involved.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said that with four days left for Asthana's superannuation, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued the notification naming him as the Police Commissioner of New Delhi, effectively granting him a one year extension from the date of his superannuation "as a special case in public interest".
"Not just is it an issue of inter-cadre appointment; the issue expands to another instance of blatant disregard towards the Supreme Court of India and the laws of the land," Pawan Khera, Congress spokesperson, said.
While clearing Asthana's appointment as the CP Delhi, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the inter-cadre deputation from Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre.
The Congress leader said the Supreme Court has stated that recommendation for appointment to the post of Director General of Police by the Union Public Service Commission and preparation of panel should be purely on the basis of merit from officers who have a minimum residual tenure of six months i.e. officers who have at least six months of service prior to the retirement.
"With just four days left before the retirement of Rakesh Asthana, this notification by the Modi government issued under the seal of approval by (Home Minister) Amit Shah is downright illegal and in direct contravention of the judgment of the Honourable Supreme Court of India," Khera said.
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