Former CBI second-in-command, IPS officer Rakesh Asthana appointed as new Border Security Force chief

Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana has been appointed as the chief of the Border Security Force (BSF) and VSK Kaumudi will be Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the home ministry, according to a personnel ministry order issued on Monday.

Asthana is at present working as the Director-General of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) in Delhi and holds an additional charge of the Narcotics Control Bureau.

Currently, the DG of Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP) chief SS Deswal is holding the additional charge of BSF since March this year. However, the Centre felt that keeping in view developments at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) or de-facto border with China and Pakistan, there was a need to appoint a full-time chief in BSF, a government official told The Hindustan Times.

In 1997, as a superintendent of police in the CBI, he had arrested RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fodder scam. The RJD chief has since been convicted of corruption and is currently in jail.

Since then, Asthana has gone on to investigate several high profile cases including the VVIP chopper scam, bank fraud by Vijay Mallya and the 2002 Sabarmati Express fire in Godhra.

As per The Indian Express, Asthana as a special director in the CBI had clashed with former CBI director Alok Verma, during which both levelled corruption allegations against each other. Both of them were finally forced to go on leave and moved out of CBI in 2018.

In February, earlier this year, CBI had cleared Asthana of all charges of corruption, registered by Verma.

After the allegations came out in 2018, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) conducted an enquiry against Verma and found him guilty of irregularities and impropriety, reports The Hindustan Times. Verma was then also removed from the post of CBI director in 2019, by a committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to The, two months after the spat between the two officers first erupted in the public space, in January 2019, Asthana was sent to the Bureau of Civil Aviation and Security, where he maintained a low profile.

The new BSF chief also headed a special investigation team (SIT) formed by the CBI to investigate money laundering charges against Vijay Mallya. Asthana is believed to have played a key role in building a watertight case against him.

Apart from this, the government has also transferred the incumbent chief of Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) VSK Kaumudi. Kaumudi, a 1986 batch IPS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, is presently working as DG, Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).

He has been appointed Special Secretary (Internal Security), Ministry of Home Affairs up to 30 November, 2022 i.e. date of his superannuation, the order said.

His batchmate from Uttar Pradesh cadre, Md Jawed Akhtar has been appointed the DG, Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guard.

Akhtar will hold the charge of the post for a period up to 31 July, 2021 i.e. date of his superannuation, it added. He is presently working as Special DG, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

With inputs from PTI

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