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CBI Officer Probing Rakesh Asthana Transferred in 'Public Interest'; Oppn Questions Move to 'Kala Pani'

Bassi has been replaced by Satish Dagar, who earlier probed cases against Dera Sachcha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim.


Updated:October 24, 2018, 4:29 PM IST
CBI Officer Probing Rakesh Asthana Transferred in 'Public Interest'; Oppn Questions Move to 'Kala Pani'
Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18

New Delhi: The CBI has overhauled the team probing allegations of corruption against its former Special Director Rakesh Asthana, bringing in completely new faces, officials said Wednesday. Changes have been effected from the investigation officer to the supervisory level, they said.

M Nageswar Rao, a 1986-batch Odisha cadre IPS officer, who took over the duties and functions of CBI director late last night, appointed Satish Dagar as superintendent of police to probe the case, they said.

Dagar has earlier probed cases against Dera Sachcha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim. His first supervisor will be Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Tarun Gauba, who investigated the Vyapam cases. At the joint director-level, V Murugesan has been brought in. He will hold additional charge as joint director, Anti Corruption-I, in the CBI headquarters. The Supreme Court had reposed faith in Murugesan in the coal scam probe, officials said.

The previous investigating officer, Deputy SP AK Bassi, has been shunted to Port Blair in "public interest" with "immediate effect", inviting sharp criticism from the Opposition. CPI(M) general secreatry Sitaram Yechury said, "We don't know if CBI was investigating other issues like Rafale scam. If that was the case, it was ordered to protect the government, PM and concerned officers. Why was the DIG investigating the charges against Asthana sent to 'Kala Pani' in Andaman?'

In a series of tweets, Yechury slammed the government for the current state of affairs in the country's premier investigative agency. "The illegal removal of CBI chief by Modi government to protect their own handpicked officer, against whom serious charges of corruption are being investigated, points to attempts at a serious cover-up to protect his direct links to the BJP's top political leadership", he tweeted.

Senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said, "PM Modi has buried the last nail in the independence of CBI. The systematic dismantling and disintegration of CBI is complete. PM's systematic attack on credibility and capacity of CBI has now ensured that its credibility is dead and buried," he said.

Asthana had alleged in his complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission that Bassi was carrying out "roving inquiries" against him on the directions of Alok Verma, the CBI director who has been divested of all powers by the government along with him.

In another order, the CBI transferred Joint Director-Policy Arun Kumar Sharma and posted him as joint director of the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), probing former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination case.

Senior officer, A Sai Manohar, has been transferred and posted as joint director Chandigarh zone while Amit Kumar, DIG Economic Offence-III, will hold additional charge of joint director-policy.

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