New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a PIL that challenged the appointment of former CBI special director Rakesh Asthana as the director general of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the plea filed by lawyer ML Sharma. Also Read - SC Rejects Chanda Kochhar’s Appeal Against HC Order Dismissing Her Plea Over Termination
On January 11, the Delhi High Court had refused to quash the FIR lodged against Asthana on bribery allegations and set a 10-week deadline to complete the investigation. On January 18, however, the Government appointed Asthana as director of BCAS, India’s regulatory authority for civil aviation security. As per the petition, Asthana was accused of bribery while in duty. Therefore, his appointment as the head of the BCAS violated the Classification, Control and Appeal (CCA) Rules 1965. A case was registered against Asthana for criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct under the relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Also Read - BMC Might Move Supreme Court Against HC's Decision in Kangana Ranaut Property Demolition Case
In an unprecedented move, on October 15, the CBI had registered an FIR against Asthana for allegedly taking a bribe from an accused probed by him in lieu of ensuring relief and a clean chit in the case. A Dubai-based investment banker Manoj Prasad, allegedly a middleman in the CBI bribery case, was accused of taking a bribe on behalf of Asthana and was granted bail by a Patiala House Court on December 18. Also Read - Strict COVID-19 Rules on Card as Supreme Court Asks Centre to Take The Lead Amid Sudden Spurt in COVID Cases
The case was registered on a statement of the alleged bribe-giver, Sathish Sana, who was facing probe in a separate case of bribery involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi. Asthana, in his complaint against then CBI director Alok Verma, had alleged that it was Sana who paid the latter to get relief. Asthana had also complained about ten more cases of alleged corruption and irregularities against the director. He had alleged that Verma had tried to stop raids on Lalu Prasad Yadav.
(With Agency inputs)