A crisis-like situation has erupted in the country’s top investigative agency with the Central Bureau of Investigation informing the Chief Vigilance Commission that a top official of the agency is under the scanner for alleged graft and that a number of officers being considered to be inducted into the investigative organisation have corruption cases against them. The matter came to fore amid differences being reported between the top two officials of the CBI.
As per a report by The Indian Express, the CBI has written a letter to the CVC expressing its concerns about Special Director Rakesh Asthana’s alleged role in several cases currently being examined by the agency itself.
In its letter, signed by director Alok Verma, the agency has pointed out that Asthana himself is under scanner in several cases. The letter further states that Asthana, the second top-most officer, does not have the mandate to represent the agency’s chief. It categorically points out that Asthana can’t be consulted in inducting new officers into CBI to maintain organisational integrity. Further, the agency has also informed the CVC that several officers being considered to be inducted in the organisation have corruption cases against them.
The CBI conveyed its concerns to the agency in two separate letters. The letter came as a formal reply to a telephone call from the CVC on July 10, informing it about a meeting of the CBI selection committee on July 12. The CBI letters informed the CVC that it had not received any formal agenda for the meeting.
When CVC asked CBI to about the officer-in-charge to attend to attend the meeting, the agency said that that “the charge/ powers of Director, CBI have not been given to” Asthana.
This letter, written by the policy division with due approval of Verma, stated that the “issue was discussed with the Director CBI over telephone”, and that Asthana’s “role is under the scanner of this bureau (CBI) in certain cases”.
Earlier, the appointment of Asthana as special director in the CBI had courted controversy. At that time, the CVC ignored a note from CBI director Verma pertaining to corruption allegations and objecting to Asthana’s name. Asthana’s appointment was also challenged in the Supreme Court.