New Delhi: Rakesh Asthana, the Director-General of the Border Security Force (BSF), was appointed as Commissioner of Delhi Police by the Narendra Modi administration on Tuesday. A Gujarat cadre IPS officer from the 1984 batch, Asthana was selected as Delhi police head three days before he was set to retire.
‘Consequent upon appointment of Shri Rakesh Asthana, IPS (GJ:84), Director General, BSF, as Commissioner of Police, Delhi, the competent authority has approved that Shri S. S. Deswal, IPS (HY:84), Director General, ITBP shall hold additional charge of the post of DG, BSF vice Shri Asthana, till the appointment and joining of the regular incumbent or until further orders whichever is earlier,’ the order from the Union home ministry said.
Asthana, who was known for his professional skill and honesty, became embroiled in a sour scandal when he clashed with then-CBI Director Alok Verma as a Special Director on high-profile cases. Asthana was shunted out along with Alok Verma on January 10, 2019, and was appointed to the post of Director General Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
While the government had assigned Balaji Srivastava additional charge of the Delhi Police after S N Shrivastava retired on June 30, the decision to appoint Asthana was made because Home Minister Amit Shah wanted to restructure the force to make it more professional and responsive. Asthana is a criminal investigator who played a significant role in the unravelling of the Indian Mujahideen in Gujarat during the last decade.
Despite being the front-runner for the Director CBI position following Rishi Shukla, Asthana was passed over due to technical legal concerns expressed by committee members.
As the Director-General of the National Crime Bureau, Asthana has been at the forefront of drug seizures and has led the investigation into the flow of cocaine and synthetic narcotics in the Mumbai film industry. As DG BSF, he has pushed the force to strengthen its borders by dismantling terrorist tunnels used by Pakistani militants in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.