Delhi Assembly passes resolution terming top cop Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as ‘unconstitutional’



NEW DELHI: The ruling AAP on Thursday slammed the Centre over the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the Commissioner of Delhi Police, alleging the move was aimed at “harassing” the party leaders.

Raising the issue in a short duration discussion on the first day of the Monsoon session of the Delhi Assembly, AAP MLA Sanjiv Jha moved a resolution terming Asthana’s appointment as “unconstitutional” and against Supreme Court directions.

The resolution expressed “disapproval” against the controversial Gujarat-cadre officer being “forced upon Delhi” as its police commissioner. The Union government 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, a 1984-batch IPS officer, was serving as the director-general of the Border Security Force and was due to retire on July 31. Jha also questioned Asthana’s knowledge of Delhi and policing in the city as he was a Gujarat-cadre officer.

Participating in the debate, AAP MLAs Gulab Singh, Akhilesh Pati Tripathi, Somnath Bharti and BS Joon, supported Jha’s resolution and alleged that Asthana was brought to Delhi to “muzzle and harass the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)”.

Tripathi asserted that AAP leaders and workers were not scared by Asthana’s appointment and added, “We are born out of revolution. We are not like the Congressmen in Gujarat.” AAP MLA Bharti questioned the purpose behind Asthana’s appointment, alleging that he has been “brought to harass AAP MLAs, councilors and the chief minister”.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri called Asthana an “honest and decorated” IPS officer who was awarded the President’s Police Medal twice.

“Rakesh Asthana successfully investigated the Godhara carnage and Purulia arms drop cases. He also investigated the land scam related to the son-in-law of a political party chief. The House should welcome his appointment,” he said.

In his reply over the debate in the House, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain dared Bidhuri for action against the “son-in-law” he was not naming and added that the BJP and Congress are “two sides of the same coin”.

He supported the resolution, saying the central government should not have defied the Supreme Court directions while making the appointment. The resolution was accepted by the House with a voice vote.

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