The Delhi Legislative Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution against the appointment of 1984-batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner. The resolution, which was moved by the Aam Aadmi Party MLA Sanjeev Jha, directs the Delhi government to convey to the Ministry of Home Affairs to withdraw it’s order and pick another officer as replacement.
Opposing the decision of the Centre, the Aam Aadmi Party said Asthana will be used to create a reign of terror against the party in Delhi.
The resolution, which was adopted after a brief discussion, during which six AAP MLAs, including Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain, hit out at the Central govt on the appointment of Asthana. The BJP’s Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, the leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, praised the Centre’s decision.
Questioning on Asthana’s appointment, AAP MLA raised this issue under rule-55 of the Delhi assembly on the first day of its monsoon session. The AAP MLAs alleged that the appointment amounted to violation of a 2019 Supreme Court landmark judgment in the Prakash Singh vs Union of India case, which communicates that only officers who have at least six months of service left before retirement should be considered for the post of DGP.
The AAP MLAs also levelled charges of corruption against Asthana. However, the BJP MLA Ramesh Bidhuri opposed the resolution and said the IPS official was awarded the Police Medal for meritorious service during the term of the UPA II government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Attacking the government over the appointment, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera alleged that it is not just an issue of inter-cadre appointment, the issue expands to another instance of blatant disregard towards the Supreme Court of India and the laws of the land.
Rakesh Asthana, a senior IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre, was appointed the Commissioner of Delhi Police on Tuesday and took charge as the Commissioner of Delhi Police Wednesday, just three days before his retirement. Asthana, 59, is currently the chief of the of the Border Security Force (BSF). He was earlier a special director in the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI).