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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightCentre appoints Rakesh...

Centre appoints Rakesh Asthana, 6 others as NHRC special monitors

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Centre appoints Rakesh Asthana, 6 others as NHRC special monitors
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New Delhi: Rakesh Asthana, a former commissioner of police in Delhi, is one of the seven people the Centre appointed as "special monitors" for the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

In line with the directive that Undersecretary Barjesh Kumania issued on November 22, “Consequent on acceptance of the terms and conditions contained in the offer letters of even number dated October 25, 2023, seven officers are hereby engaged as Special Monitors of the National Human Rights Commission on matters relating to the thematic area, with immediate effect and for a period up-to September 22, 2025.”

As per the directive, Asthana will function as a special monitor responsible for monitoring thematic areas of terrorism, counter-insurgency, communal riots, and Left-wing extremism, Indian Express reported.

Muktesh Chandra, a retired IPS officer, would be in charge of thematic areas of artificial intelligence and cybercrime under AGMUT cadre.

“Amitabh Agnihotri will see thematic areas; environment, climate change and human rights, while Sanjay Agarwal will see thematic areas; elementary education and literacy and R K Sama will see thematic areas; water, sanitation and hygiene (wash),” the order states.

It further states, “Manohar Agani will see thematic areas; public health, healthcare and hospital (mental health, HIV/Aids, Spurious drugs, diagnostics and labs) and thematic areas of livelihood, skilling and employment will be looked after by Jyotsna Sitling.”

Four days prior to his planned retirement in 2021, the Centre appointed Asthana, an IPS officer from the 1984 Gujarat cadre, as the new commissioner of police in Delhi until July 31, 2022. Asthana oversaw the Narcotics Control Bureau in addition to serving as the head of the Border Security Force (BSF) (NCB). Balaji Srivastava, an IPS officer from the 1988 AGMUT batch, was assigned extra responsibility as the commissioner of police for Delhi prior to his joining and departed after just 27 days.

Asthana has a wide range of service experience; he has worked for the state government and the Centre, where he completed two stints in the CBI. He looked into the fodder scam during his first assignment with the CBI, which led to the conviction of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Yadav.

Asthana was involved in a bitter conflict with Alok Verma, the CBI's former director while serving as a special director. On October 15, 2018, during the height of the CBI's turf war, Verma filed a formal complaint against Asthana claiming that he had coerced a suspect in the Moin Qureshi case to pay him Rs 2.95 crore through two middlemen in order to weaken the evidence against him. Ultimately, Asthana was cleared of all charges, and the CBI had testified before the high court that there was no evidence to prove the allegations made against him.

The incident caused such a crisis that, on October 21, 2018, at midnight, the government swooped down on the agency and ordered both employees to take leave. The CBI was then temporarily placed under the command of Nageswara Rao.

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