Rakesh Asthana is an Indian Police Service officer from the 1984-batch of Gujarat cadre. He was designated as the Special Director at the Central Bureau of Investigation on 22 October 2017. During his career at the Central Bureau of Investigation, he was promoted as the Superintendent of Police, then Deputy Inspector General, and Additional Director. On 27 July 2021, three days before his retirement, Rakesh was appointed as the new Delhi Police Commissioner by the Narendra Modi government to serve the Indian Capital till 31 July 2022.
Rakesh Asthana was born on Sunday, 9 July 1961 (age 60 years; as of 2021) in Ranchi (now in Jharkhand) Bihar. His zodiac sign is Cancer. He received his school education from Netarhat Vidyalaya in Bihar (now in Jharkhand). He completed his intermediate education at St. John’s College, Agra in 1978. Deccan Herald After completing his school education, he went on to attend Jawaharlal Nehru University to pursue Masters in History.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Weight (approx.): 79 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
His father’s name is H. R. Asthana, and he was a physics teacher at school. The name of her mother is not known.
Wife & Children
Rakesh Asthana is married.
He has a son named Ankush Asthana, and he has a daughter too.
After completing his higher education at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Rakesh served as the Inspector of General of Police in the Gujarat Police at Vadodara Range. Later, he was designated as the Police Commissioner of Vadodara City and Surat in Gujarat. Rakesh Asthana came into the limelight when he was in the special investigation of CBI and extensively probed the Purulia Arms Drop case in 1995. The case was related to the dropping of the unauthorised arms from an Antonov An-26 aircraft in Purulia district in West Bengal in December 1995. Rakesh Asthana was given the charge of Vadodara’s police commissioner in the early 2000s, and soon, he was appointed to probe the incident ‘the 2002 Sabarmati Express fire incident in Godhra’ that led to the death of 59 persons. The special team was appointed in the care of the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi. It was the first high-profile investigation of Asthana’s career. Freepress Journal In 2008, Rakesh Asthana was in the special investigation team of CBI to probe the 26 July 2008 bomb blast. Ahmedabad was the focal point of the bomb blast that led to the killing of 45 innocent people along with 150 injured. Freepress Journal After the blast, Indian Mujahideen took the responsibility for this blast. In 2015, the former liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya was arrested in a loan fraud and money laundering case, and Rakesh was under the special investigation team (SIT) formed by the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate the fraud of Rs. 9,000 crores. Freepress Journal In 2017, Lalu Prasad Yadav was arrested by the CBI for his involvement in the misappropriation of Rs 9.4 billion from the government treasury in Bihar. Lalu Yadav was investigated by Rakesh Asthana in the Fodder Scam. Asthana filed a charge sheet against Lalu in 1996. In 1997, Lalu Prasad Yadav was arrested. After Asthana’s brave act, a senior retired journalist told media persons about Rakesh Asthana,
Such was the aura of Lalu Prasad during the mid-90s that no police officer could dare to quiz the then chief minister of Bihar. But Rakesh Asthana interrogated Lalu for six consecutive hours. It was on the basis of this probe that a charge sheet was filed in the fodder scam, which eventually led to Lalu’s arrest in 1997.”
Rakesh Asthana probed the case of Asaram Bapu and his son Narayan Sai in 2018. The women who were said to be their followers filed a case of rape, sexual assault, illegal confinement against both of them. At the end of 2018, Delhi Police arrested Narayan Sai from the Delhi-Haryana border. Soon, Narayan Sai accepted the charges against him levelled by the two women. The Hindu Business Line Rakesh Asthana in a press conference said,
Sai’s remand gets over today, his further police custody will be sought for interrogation and gathering evidence against him and he will be produced in the court later in the day. It has also come to light that he fathered a child with one of his sevikas (disciple).”
He further stated,
During our intense questioning, Sai has more or less accepted the rape allegations levelled against him by one of the two (Surat-based) sisters.”
Rakesh Asthana was designated as the chief of the Border Security Force (BSF) in August 2020. He was also given the additional charge of the Narcotics Control Bureau along with the BSF. Till 31 July 2021, he worked as the Director-General of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. In 2020, Rakesh Asthana was in the investigating team of Rhea Chakraborty‘s case when she came under the lens of the Narcotics Control Bureau. In an interview, Rakesh revealed about the case that,
Rhea’s case is not small. Through this, a systematic running racket has been exposed, whose strings are linked to Dubai and terrorist organizations. Illegal drugs are bought for rave parties. The proceeds from it are used to spread terror. A kilogram of “bud” made from curated marijuana costs Rs 8 lakh. People like Rhea are role models for the youth, so they cannot be forgiven. We have to set an example for people to stop using drugs.”
Rakesh was designated as the new Delhi Police Commissioner by the Narendra Modi government on 27 July 2021, just three days before his retirement. He was given the charge of Delhi Police Commissioner until 31 July 2022. BG Krishnan, the Indian Deputy Secretary read the official notification of the Home Ministry of India after Asthana’s appointment on 27 July 2021. He read,
The approval of the appointment committee of the Cabinet has been conveyed, dated July 27, 2021, for the Inter Cadre deputation of Rakesh Asthana, from Gujarat cadre to AGMUT Cadre and extending his service initially for a period of one year beyond the date of his superannuation on July 31,2021, or until further orders, whichever is earlier, in relaxation of Rule 16 (1) of the All India Services (death-cum-retirement benefits) rules, 1958 as a special case in public interest. In pursuance of the said approval, Asthana is hereby appointed as Commissioner of Police, Delhi, with effect from the date of taking over charge up to July 31, 2022, or until further orders, whichever is earlier. This issues with the approval of the competent authority.”
In April 2021, Rakesh Asthana raided and arrested Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General at the Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS), Dhanbad while taking the Rs. 35 lakh as the first instalment of the bribe from the candidates who were appeared in the oral examination for the manager’s post that was conducted by the DGMS in early 2021. He was arrested, along with Triloki Nath Singh and Kailash Mandal, a relative of Arvind Kumar. The computer-based examination was already qualified by these candidates, and they went on for the oral examination where Triloki Nath Singh and Kailash Mandal were allegedly favouring some of the candidates to pass the exams. Later on, it was revealed that from 48 candidates total bribe of Rs. 72 lakh was already fixed. The Hindustan Times
- In November 2017, Rakesh Asthana attracted controversy when he was named to be appointed as the special director of the Central Bureau of Investigation. An NGO named ‘Common Cause’ demanded that he must not be appointed on the said post as his name was figured in the 2011 Sterling Biotech case. In this case, the Gujarat-based pharma firm ‘Sterling Biotech’ allegedly misappropriated Rs. 14,500 crore bank loan. The owners of the firm Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara and Deepti Sandesara were registered under the fraud and money laundering case. The books of the firm that were maintained by the owners depicted the name of Rakesh Asthana as the ‘beneficiary’ of unaccounted money; however, his name was not in the FIR. The Wire
- In 2018, Rakesh Asthana and the former CBI chief Alok Verma accused each other in high profile bribery cases. Asthana filed a suit against Alok Verma Delhi High Court. Soon, Alok Verma went to the Supreme Court of India. They were ordered to went on leave by the government of India and the Central Vigilance Commission in January 2019. Rakesh Asthana was provided with a clean chit by the investigation team of CBI in 2020. Later, the decision was also accepted by the Special CBI Court. The Indian Express India Today Mint
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- 2001: The Police Medal for Meritorious Services
- 2009: The President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Services
- Soon after completing his higher studies, Rakesh taught history at St Xavier’s College in Ranchi. Asthana cleared his UPSC examination on his first attempt in 1984 and joined the Gujarat cadre.
- In 2016, Rakesh Asthana was investigated by the CBI team for lavishing spending on his daughter’s wedding, and the owners of the hotels i.e. The Laxmi Vilas Palace, Hotel Express Towers, Suncity Club and Resort and Surya Palace Hotel said in their declaration that the wedding place was provided to the Asthana family on a complimentary basis.
- Bureau of Civil Aviation Security stated about Rakesh Asthana in their press conference in 2020 when he was appointed as the chief of Border Security Force,
Rakesh Asthana is the 27th Director General of BSF, which is the largest Border Guarding Force of the world having a strength of approximately 2,65,000 brave and dedicated men and women, protecting the International Borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.”
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is Rakesh Asthana’s ideal.