CVC overlooked CBI Dir’s objection on Asthana’s promotion

The Central Vigilance Commission cleared the recommendation to promote senior IPS officer Rakesh Asthana, who is considered close to the NDA government, despite CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma objected to it.

Asthana’s promotion as Special Director in CBI had triggered a controversy following reports that there were some objections to the move within the CVC-led panel looking into promotions in the agency. The order was issued on Sunday late night after the CVC cleared his and seven others promotion in a meeting on Saturday.

Sources said the CBI Director did flag adverse reports against Asthana when his case for promotion came up before the five-member panel headed by the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) that looks into promotions and appointments of senior CBI officials. The CBI Director is only a special invitee in this panel, which has the CVC, two Vigilance Commissioner, Home Secretary and DoPT Secretary as members.

In connection with Asthana, Verma is learnt to have pointed to a a recent CBI FIR against some IT officials and Gujarat-linked police officers in connection with the recovery of diary which talked about purported payments.

“The CBI Director is not a member of the committee that recommends appointments and promotions. He is invited to the meeting. As per law, he only has to be consulted. He has given his frank views. Whatever views he had given, it was considered. The five-member panel unanimously cleared the proposals,” CVC K V Chowdary told reporters here.

However, he said he would not publicise what the CBI Director told the meeting. “I don’t want to join issue. All process were followed. The recommendation was unanimous. The CBI Director was consulted. Whether he supported or not is not an issue. His views were taken note off,” Chowdary added.

Asthana, a 1984-batch Gujarat cadre officer who was Additional Director in CBI before his promotion, is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Centre reportedly had plans to make Asthana CBI Director when Anil Sinha retired last December but had withdraw following objections. He was given additional charges of CBI Director in December last year but handed over charge to Verma when his appointment was cleared by the government in January this year.

(Oct 26, 2017)

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