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CBI Vs CBI: Delhi HC Refuses To Quash FIR Against Asthana, CBI To Submit Charge Sheet In 10 Weeks

PRERNA YADAV | 0
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| January 11 , 2019 , 15:49 IST

The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to quash an FIR against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana and deputy superintendent of police Devender Kumar in a bribery case.

The high court's verdict came on petitions by Asthana, Devendra Kumar, and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad challenging the FIR lodged against them. The court has directed the CBI to conduct the investigation in 10 weeks and submit a charge sheet.

Delhi High Court asked CBI to maintain status quo for 2 weeks.

They stated, "No doubt, registration of an FIR against a public servant will be a cause of great concern and stress for the public servant. Charges under the FIR are a matter of investigation. It is important that law presumes a person is innocent until proven guilty.”

Asthana was booked on charges of criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct under sections of Prevention of Corruption Act. Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, on whose complaint the FIR was lodged, alleged having paid a bribe to get relief in a case. Sana had also made allegations of corruption, extortion, high-handedness and serious malpractice against Asthana.

The then CBI Director Alok Verma had initiated the filing of an FIR against him for accepting more than Rs 2 crore as bribe from meat exporter Moin Qureshi. Both Asthana and Kumar were accused of accepting Rs 3 crore to favorably settle the money laundering case against Qureshi.

Verma was later punished by the central government for acting against Asthana, believed to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On Thursday night, a panel headed by Modi ordered his removal from the post of the CBI Director.

According to media reports, Manish Kumar Sinha, DIG CBI, had told the top court that he had documents that will ‘shock’ the court adding that his transfer to Nagpur was to change ‘the course of the investigation’ since the agency’s special director Rakesh Asthana was under scrutiny. This prompted the Chief Justice of India to say that nothing shocked him anymore. The CJI, however, refused to give an urgent hearing to his petition.

Another shocking revelation made in Sinha’s petition was the mention of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Sinha said that the middleman Manoj Prasad, who allegedly paid Rs 2 crore to Rakesh Asthana, bragged about his contact with Doval and taunted that ‘you people have no standing whatsoever and therefore should stay within limits.’

The petition read, “He (Manoj) claimed that recently his brother Somesh and Samant Goel, helped the NSA Shri Ajit Doval on an important personal matter.”