Even as the high powered committee is expected to meet today evening for the post of CBI director, petitioner in the CBI appointments case ML Sharma has claimed that former special director of the agency Rakesh Asthana is among prime contenders for the top post. Urging the court to take up his petition for early hearing, the petitioner claimed that Asthana was on top of the list of contenders for the post of CBI Director. When questioned by CJI Ranjan Gogoi about the source of his information, Sharma attributed it to news reports.
Sharma had earlier requested for an earlier hearing on his plea that challenged Asthana’s appointment which had come after the FIR was not quashed by the Delhi HC over allegations of bribery. During the hearing, the court gave 10 weeks deadline to complete probe in the case.
On January 23, he had filed a plea in the Supreme Court challenging Asthana’s appointment as Director General of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). The plea had said that the appointment was against the law and former CBI special director be suspended due to the pending case against him.
Earlier on January 11, the Delhi High Court refused to quash the FIR against Asthana on allegations of bribery and set a deadline of 10-weeks to complete the probe. However, on January 18, Asthana was appointed as director of the BCAS, country’s regulatory authority for civil aviation security.
“Instead of suspension within the CCA rule-1965, Asthana has been promoted and appointed as chief of BCAS by during the pendency of the investigation under Delhi High court in an FIR for bribe and corruption in his official duty”, the petition had said.
The petition had also requested framing of a guideline in case of removing the CBI director saying that Prime Minister should not be part of the deliberations due to conflict of interest.