In an unexpected move, former special director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Rakesh Asthana has been appointed as the new Delhi Police Chief. A statement put out by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday announced that Asthana has been appointed to the top position of Delhi Police for one year – till 31st July 2022. Prior to this, he was in charge of the Director-General of the Border Security Force (BSF) since 2020 and was set to retire on 31 July 2021. However, he has been given extension for one year, Union Home Ministry said.
Here are some interesting facts about the newly appointed Delhi Police Chief Rakesh Asthana:
1. Rakesh Asthana is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1984 batch of Gujarat cadre. Born in 1961, Asthana completed his early education from Netarhat Vidyalaya in Bihar (now Jharkhand) and went on to graduate from JNU. He cleared the Union Public Service Commission examination (UPSC) in the first attempt.
2. Asthana has served as a police commissioner in cities like Vadodara and Surat and has a strong track record in city policing.
3. Asthana was given the opportunity to probe the fodder scam case against then Chief Minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav. Following a year of investigation, he famously arrested Yadav in connection with the fodder scam following which a huge political uproar was witnessed in Bihar.
4. A few years later, Asthana was involved in the investigation of the Sabarmati Express fire in Godhra in 2002. Six years later, he was given the responsibility to handle the bomb blast case on July 26, 2008, in Ahmedabad. He settled the case within 22 days.
5. Asthana also handled examined the case of Asaram Bapu and his son Narayan Sai. The absconding Narayan Sai was caught on the Haryana-Delhi border. He has servedCBI in various capacities, starting from 1995 when he was the superintendent of police.
6. Asthana was given the responsibility to probe the Vijay Mallya and Christian Michel cases, which led to the extradition of the latter from Dubai. Asthana was the special director in CBI at the time.
7. However, his career has not been a bed of roses. Over the last decade, Asthana has garnered a lot of controversies, out of which he has been acquitted in most of them. In 2011, a diary seized from Sterling Biotech – a company being probed by the CBI for money laundering, had mentions of Asthana, alleging that he laundered money from them.
8. In 2018, he was caught up in a major feud with then CBI chief Alok Verma. Both officers accused each other of bribery and deceit, following which they were asked to go on leave by the government, on the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission.
9. Asthana was given a clean chit by the Supreme Court after concluding the probe but was removed from his CBI post. He was posted as director-general of Civil Aviation before being made the chief of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).