Continuing his fight against government's move to send CBI top boss Alok Verma on leave while appointing IPS Nageshwar Rao as the interim Director, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan has moved Supreme Court seeking quashing of the recent decisions by the centre as part of the clean up of the investigative agency.
Bhushan's NGO Common Cause has filed a petition in the topmost court regarding the two mentioned decisions, as well as also seeking removal of Rakesh Asthana from CBI and a SIT probe into the cases of corruption against the officers of the agency.
The petition will be taken up by the apex court on Friday. In the petition, Bhushan hits out at the government for trying to interfere and meddle in the matter of the premier investigative agency of the country.
"The present petition highlights how the Government through its brazen interference has attempted to subvert the premier investigating institution of this country. The instant writ petition is being filed in public interest for the enforcement of fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India," a part of the petition read.
On Wednesday, the government took note of the in-fight going inside the CBI, wherein Verma and Asthana were throwing corruption allegations on each other. Upon the recommendations of the CVC, the two were asked to go on leave, and a number of changes were made, which included the appointment of Nageshwar Rao as the interim head.
After the major decisions were put into effect, Bhushan was one of the first to criticize the centre. Bhushan seemingly connected the entire CBI overhaul to the Rafale deal. He said:
"Perhaps in order to prevent an investigation into the Rafale deal the government has last night at midnight ordered the removal the present director Shri. Alok Verma and has appointed one Mr. Nageshwar Rao as the acting director despite the fact that Nageshwar Rao has several serious complaints against him."
Bhushan, alongside former Union Minister Arun Shourie met the CBI Director Alok Verma on 4th October, 2018 to demand a probe into the Rafale deal. Interestingly, it was just 15 days after this 45 minute interaction that the CBI had filed an FIR with the Delhi Police naming CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana as an accused.
He has been very vocal about his disapproval of Asthana as CBI Special Director. t was in November 2017, that Prashant Bhushan had filed a petition on behalf of an NGO in the Supreme Court challenging Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as Special Director of CBI alleging that the appointment was done in violation of rules and regulation. A year ago, in October, 2017, Prashant Bhushan took to Twitter to speak against Asthana’s appointment. Interestingly, this was the time when that CBI Director Alok Verma shot the first arrow by writing to the CVC in October 2017 against Asthana’s promotion as CBI Special Director.