Former CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana (File Photo)
The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea challenging the appointment of corruption tainted former former CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana as Director General of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). Dismissing the plea filed by advocate ML Sharma, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that the plea against the former CBI officer made little sense and the issues raised cannot be adjudicated in a PIL.
The plea had challenged the appointment saying that an FIR was still pending against Asthana and even Delhi High Court had refused to quash it. It added that an investigation was underway against Asthana for taking bribe and his appointment is contradictory to the Classification, Control and Appeal (CCA) Rules 1965.
Rakesh Asthana is accused of taking bribe worth Rs 3 crore from a Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Sana to clear his name from the case related to meat exporter Moin Qureshi. The CBI had registered a case against Asthana on the charges of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
After this, Asthana had appealed in the Delhi High Court seeking to quash the FIR. However, the Delhi High Court on January 11, refused to quash the FIR and asked the agency to complete the investigation in 10 weeks. Despite this, the Centre on January 18 appointed Asthana as the Director General of BCAS, which is responsible for the country’s civil aviation security.
Asthana was at loggerheads with his senior and former CBI Director Alok Verma. Although the ties between the two senior most CBI officers have never been easy while serving in the agency, thing took an ugly turn after the five member CVC meeting in October 2017 when Verma opposed Asthana’s promotion as special director.
Following this, Asthana, in a letter to the CVC and cabinet secretary on August 24 last year had alleged that Verma received Rs 2 crore in bribery from Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana to clear his name from the Moin Qureshi case. After this, the CBI on October 4 produced Sana before a magistrate court where he claimed to have paid Rs. 3 crore to Asthana.