The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government today passed a resolution in the Delhi Assembly against the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the Commissioner of Delhi Police. The AAP alleged that the move was aimed at harassing its leaders. The party expressed ‘reasonable apprehensions’ that he will be used to ‘create a reign of terror’ against the party.
The resolution tabled by AAP MLA Sanjeev Jha urged the Union Home Ministry to withdraw the July 27 order appointing Asthana. It also urged the MHA to pick another officer to replace him.
AAP MLAs alleged in the assembly that the appointment was made in violation of the ‘rule of law’. The rule of law pertains to a 2019 Supreme Court judgment in which the top court had ruled that only officers who have at least six months of service left before retirement should be considered for the post of Director General of Police (DGP). Notably, CJI NV Ramana had cited the ‘rule of law’ during the appointment of a new CBI chief earlier this year.
While in most of the states, the head of police is the DGP, in Delhi, the chief of the police is the Commissioner.
The resolutions questioned the move by saying that why a ‘controversial’ officer who was removed by the Centre from the post of Special Director CBI in October 2018 and was not even considered fit for the post of CBI director is being imposed on Delhi Police.
Shri Rakesh Asthana assumes charge as @CPDelhi today. Focus to be on basic policing- crime prevention and maintaining law & order, besides attention on emergent areas. A force of formidable reputation #DelhiPolice will work as a team to serve national capital, said Shri Asthana. pic.twitter.com/Dgrqp0BAkC
— #DilKiPolice Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) July 28, 2021
“Given the past track record of this officer, there is reasonable apprehension that the Central Government will use him for foisting false cases on political rivals to create a reign of terror in the national capital. Such a controversial individual should not be heading the police force in the country’s national capital,” the resolution said.
The Union Home Ministry had on Tuesday appointed Asthana as the Delhi Police commissioner, giving him a one-year extension on the new post days before his retirement. Asthana, who was serving as the director-general of the Border Security Force was due to retire on July 31. He is a 1984-batch IPS officer.
The resolution also highlighted that while the post of Delhi Police commissioner belongs to the AGMUT cadre of the Indian Police Service (IPS), Asthana belongs to the Gujarat cadre.
What is the “Special Mission” on which Rakesh Asthana has been brought to Delhi as Commissioner?
Same Gujarat like missions like murders?
Or is it Mission Fake Encounter?
Or Mission Communal Riots?
Or to Crush Opponents?
Or Mission Snooping?
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) July 29, 2021
AAP MLAs also accused Asthana of corruption. Matiala AAP MLA Gulab Singh alleged that Asthana had put up guests in Vadodara’s five-star hotels during his daughter’s marriage in 2016 and was not charged a penny for the expenses.
On the other hand, Leader of Opposition and BJP MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri called Asthana an honest and decorated IPS officer who was awarded the President’s Police Medal twice.