NEW DELHI: CBI Director Anil Sinha retired on Friday handing over the baton to his second-in-command Rakesh Asthana, as the government did not name any full-time chief. Asthana’s appointment as the interim director came as the government did not name a full-time chief.
“The Competent Authority has approved assignment of additional charge for the post of Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to Shri Rakesh Asthana, IPS (GJ-84), Additional Director, CBI with effect from the date of relinquishment of charge by Shri Anil Kumar Sinha (BH-79) on completion of his tenure, with immediate effect and until further orders,” said the order issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
Asthana, a Gujarat-cadre officer of 1984-batch, was elevated as the second-in-command in CBI two days ago when Special Director R K Dutta was shifted to the Union Home Ministry as a Special Secretary (Internal Security). This is the first occasion in a decade that a full-time director has not been appointed.
The CBI chief is selected by a collegium comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition or largest party in the Opposition in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India. The collegium has not been able to meet. Sinha took charge of the agency when his predecessor Ranjit Sinha was embroiled in a controversy relating to meeting two people accused in the coal allocation scam.
Before stepping down, Sinha said his team performed exceedingly well. He said, “There could be shortcomings, there could be defects although it is difficult to match the expectations of the people but we tried our best.” “Anti-corruption endeavours have increased during last two years which should be a deterrent to corrupt people,” Sinha said.
Asthana was appointed the Additional Director General of CBI in April.
A key investigator in the multi-crore-rupee fodder scam, Asthana, as Superintendent of Police, CBI in Dhanbad, had arrested then Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad in 1997.
Asthana, who had been the Commissioner of Police in Vadodara and Surat in Gujarat, also headed a Special Investigation Team that probed the burning of Sabarmati Express train in which 59 people were burnt to death near Godhra railway station in February 2002.
He also headed the special investigating team probing the `3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP scam and the loan fraud by liquor baron Vijay Mallya. (With inputs from agencies)