The sudden spate in the number of Public Interest Litigations (PIL) before the Supreme Court being filed on specific issues pertaining to the investigations of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have raised quite a few eyebrows in Delhi. It all began with the with the PIL filed by Upendra Rai, fixer-cum-lobbyist masquerading as a journalist in Lutyens’ Delhi, against Enforcement Directorate’s Investigating Officer in 2G Scam. This was then followed by the PIL filed by one Rajneesh Kapur, again against the ED officer in the Supreme Court. Both the litigations did not hold water. However, it was during the hearing of the second PIL that the Government of India submitted in a sealed envelope a stale Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) intelligence note, which was enquired into, filed and closed 2 years back.
Subramanian Swamy, BJP MP and anti-corruption crusader, in both the cases, said that this was being allegedly filed at the behest of CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana. Swamy has also been consistently tweeting about a “Gang of Four” in the bureaucracy which has been sabotaging the anti-corruption campaign of the Government and their attempts to save tainted former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Further, Swamy even wrote a confidential letter detailing how this Gang of Four bureaucrats, Rakesh Asthana included, have been working closely with fixers to protect P Chidambaram.
It is pertinent to mention that CBI Director Alok Verma had removed the investigations pertaining to P Chidambaram and his son Karti from Asthana and the charge sheet in the Aircel Maxis case was filed by the CBI last week before the CBI special court. It is necessary to mention here that Upendra Rai has been arrested by both the CBI & ED and several incriminating documents have been found during the search of his residence. It is part of investigative records now that Rakesh Asthana was regularly in touch with Upendra Rai for quite some time.
The drama does not end here. To add to this PIL menace, a fresh PIL in the name of “IRCTC” case has been filed by one petitioner, Venkatesh Kumar Sharma in the matter pertaining to the “Fixed Tenures” mandated to the Directors of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). In the sinister garb of questioning the investigations conducted by the CBI in IRCTC hotels case, the petition, in one stroke, makes sweeping allegations against four CBI directors including the present Director. On this pretext and others, it has challenged the Fixed Tenures legally mandated to the Chiefs of these investigative agencies.
What is important to note here, again, is the invisible hand of CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana. The advocate for this PIL is not only a close friend of Asthana but also that the two of them hail from the same state, Bihar. Furthermore, in a recent closed party organised by this Advocate for his family and close friends, Asthana was his Man-Friday and was even seen welcoming all the guests.
PGurus has reliably learnt that a head of a central intelligence agency had recently briefed the PMO in detail on all these developments and proximity of Asthana with these persons engaged in PIL factory. Also to note, according to highly placed sources in CBI, Asthana has cast serious allegations, through his proxy PIL, on three former CBI Directors – Anil Sinha, Ranjit Singh, and AP Singh – all three hailing from Bihar and apparently very close to Asthana and have helped him over a period of time. This speaks volumes about Asthana’s venomous and thankless nature and also that he would go to any extent to settle scores.
What is worrisome is the news that is making the rounds in Lutyens’ Delhi that a very Senior Official in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has not just been backing but also actively supporting Asthana in this pursuit of filing these litigations which are obviously not in public interest. What irks us further is what is the sinister agenda of these senior officers intend to achieve by ganging up with elements like Upendra Rai who have caused immense damage to the system. Will the PIL drama stop anytime soon and will sanity be restored to our investigative agencies?
We will be watching.
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