Several high-level promotions and postings of senior officers within the Central Reserve Police Force, the Intelligence Bureau and the Central Bureau of Investigation made by the Cabinet Committee on Appointments on Sunday have raised quite a few eyebrows.
A total of eight officers were promoted or assigned new ranks (see below), but the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as a special director in the CBI has sparked a controversy among the high ranks in the buruecracy. He was serving as an additional director at the premier investigative agency, which he once headed in an interim capacity.
Top sources had earlier said that the Central Vigilance Commission's (CVC) Selection Committee had rejected the proposal to promote Asthana by invoking the "integrity clause".
The Selection Committee is chaired by Central Vigilance Commissioner KV Chowdary and plays a role in clearing or not clearing appointing to the rank of joint director and above in the CBI.
Government sources, however, denied the CVC's Selection Comittee had rejected the proposal to promote Asthana to special director. A senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "The announcement by the Cabinet Committee on Appointments settled the issue as due procedure is followed in such cases."
Among the other officers promoted or assigned new ranks include Gurbachan Singh, who was elevated to the rank of special director in the IB, Sudeep Lakhtakia, now a special DG (Director Genral) in CRPF, IPS officer Javeed Ahmed, who has been given the rank of special DG, Arvind Kumar, who has been promoted to the rank of special director in the IB, Dr AP Maheshwari, appointed as a special DG in the BSF, and Deepak Kumar Mishra, who is now a special DG in the CRPF.
SELECTION COMMITTEE MEETING
Sources had earlier said that the CVC Selection Committee met on Saturday and put on record "issues regarding integrity clause" while rejecting Asthana's promotion.
Apart from the central vigilance commissioner, the committee also includes two other vigilance commissioners, the home secretary, the secretary of the Department of Personal and Training, and the CBI director.
Unanimously rejecting the proposal to promote Asthana, the committee stated that his name was found in "Diary 2011", a piece of evidence mentioned in a recent FIR registered by his the CBI itself in a corruption case.
The FIR was filed by the CBI's Delhi unit on August 30 against three senior Income Tax Commissioners for accepting bribes from the Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech and Sandesara Group of Companies.
The FIR says there exists a "Diary 2011" which was found during raids against a company. The diary, sources say, contains details of monthly payouts made to the accused Income Tax commissioners as well as several other police officials and politicians in Gujarat and Delhi.
Sources suggested that the diary noting also had Asthana's name too. This too was denied by sources within the government. Notably, in 2014, the CVC Selection Committee in a similar manner had rejected the appointment of Archana Ramasundaram as an additional director in the CBI.
But then CBI Director Ranjit Sinha appointed Archana anyway, an appointment that was later struck down by the Supreme Court.