File image of Rakesh Asthana
Rakesh Asthana, the Director General of Border Security Force (BSF), has been appointed as the new Delhi Police Commissioner, stated a circular issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) late on July 27.
Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, would be replacing IPS officer Balaji Srivastava, who was given the additional charge of Delhi Police chief in June this year.
As Asthana vacates the post of BSF chief, IPS officer SS Deswal, the Director General of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), has been given the additional charge to head the BSF.
The MHA circular noted that it has been "requested to relieve Rakesh Asthana immediately to enable him to join as Commissioner of Police, Delhi".
Asthana, 59, has been given the charge of Delhi Police Commissioner three days before he was to superannuate.
During his career, Asthana has been part of several high-profile investigations. Under then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Asthana was appointed as Vadodara's police commissioner. He had investigated 2002 Sabarmati Express fire incident in Godhra, which led to the death of at least 59 persons.
Asthana, as superintendent of police in the CBI in 1997, had arrested Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fodder scam.
In 2015, he headed the special investigation team (SIT) formed by the CBI to investigate former liquor baron Vijay Mallya in the alleged loan fraud and money laundering case amounting to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore.
Asthana was involved in a major controversy in 2018, due to his feud with the then CBI chief Alok Verma. Allegations of bribery were levelled against him, but he was issued a clean chit by the the federal agency in February 2020.
Notably, Asthana was born on July 9, 1961 in Ranchi, and studied at Netarhat Residential School in Jharkhand. He pursued higher education from Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) before clearing the civil services examination in his first attempt.